Ugh....course correction....state of emergency: UPDATE - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 33 Old 02-21-2013, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Every one here has read reams about my kids, the good and the bad.  Yesterday I mentally declared a state of emergency, and started a course correction.  So far it has worked.

 

What am I doing?  I'm starting to take away treats and videos for entirely unrelated infractions-- the stuff that has made life in the last few months incredibly stressful like name-calling, little ornery punches("addicental" of course!  uh huh.....right), screaming.    

 

It has worked like a charm.  Today dd2 started screaming at dd1 for ending a game.  I told her "OK, now it's time to stop yelling at your sister."  "BUT I NEED TO TELL HER...."  "You can tell her but you can't yell."  "BUT YOU QUIT THE GAME BEFORE...."  "If you yell again, I'm taking away one of your treats tomorrow."  ".........."

 

Oh, brother.  I have tried so many different ways besides this tactic.  I have talked and listened.  I have yelled myself when I've lost all patience (nice going, mama.)  I have waited, foolishly perhaps, while doing all this, thinking that some week it will magically all be easier to get an understanding with these girls.  Nothing.  

 

The last year has been particularly stressful for all of us.  Now, a new house with a new yard and the dead of winter has exacerbated the problems I have tried to address continually, and the atmosphere has become toxic.  I have been extremely unhappy about all this, even though I am alternately thrilled about this coming spring and have generally enjoyed our USing life otherwise.

 

But still, the issues-- orneriness, competitiveness, selfishness, the grinding meanness of the older to the younger, everything I have ever complained about here and things I haven't--- all this continued and became worse and (something I realized not too long ago) have become ingrained HABIT with the two of them.

 

I am tired.  I was hoping dd1's empathy was developing more (something she has shown a shortage of since.... forever, really).  I was hoping dd2 would HEAR ME so I could converse with her and not be such a heavy (she has always been difficult to talk with regarding these things).  

 

So, I am using a tactic that I was trying to avoid.  I am no stranger to removing things like videos IF the behavior was connected to the videos (like screaming because dd1 did not like dd2's video) but I have intensely disliked the idea of connecting unrelated things.  And I didn't like that tactic in general because if misbehavior kept going... what then?  But I have used it judiciously when the "punishment" was connected to the "crime".  Not this.  Not ever.  

 

I kept thinking "one of these days something will click" and we have had many signs of improvements.  DD1's skills at conversing with me about these things has really blossomed.  An that is how I found that much of her actions were from habit.  Sure, she's still pissed and we also need to deal with that.  But I thought this new development would help the situation resolve, but...not.  One step forward.... three steps back.

 

This was starting to make me love the idea of school.  Our school district sucks.  I would never seriously consider school.  But, oh.... school sounds pretty nice about now.  I didn't tell dd1 that exactly, but I did say when I had her alone in the car that this constant fighting and meanness has made homeschooling unhappy for me, and I wasn't sure how we could continue if we didn't resolve this.  All I do know is that other families have given up on homeschooling for much, much less conflict than this.

 

To her credit, dd1 is really trying.  She understands to some degree.  But simply has not enough control over her actions when she is grumpy.... and she's grumpy a lot.  She's a moody and temperamental kid.

 

I am so not proud of all this.  I consider it a failure on my part to effectively get a handle on this situation in a manner I consider to be more respectful.  I have played a huge part in creating some of the problems by my own yelling when all patience is lost--something I have improved for a long while but too little too late.  I am not a failure but in this I have failed myself.  

 

I'm not sure I even want to hear any response that begins "You did the right thing" because I think I'd cringe.  This is not the right thing, but I do understand I absolutely could not continue on, either.  This is a desperate thing.  I won't regret it, but I am sorry that I can no longer wait for another option.  I simply ran out of any faith that they were going to "outgrow" this organically with my sage and supremely patient guidance.  (Thllllbbbbt!!!)

 

I am hopeful that I can make this "course correction" and move on to creating a happier, more peaceful household.  In an unintended way, they HEAR me now, though not for the reasons I wanted.  And they are obliged to SEE their actions mindfully, albeit after the fact.  Putting mindfulness into their actions, in some way or another, I know is the key to ending the worst of this.  

 

I am hoping this doesn't cascade and force me into this type of thing with everything.  I have a promise from dh not to push cleaning up on them.  Let us, please, work on getting along, especially when we are angry and grumpy.  

 

I have some crazy vision that after this we will listen and respect each other better and that we might actually get closer to my ideal vision of family connection, respect and empathy.  I am wise enough to see that the real work will come in healing their feelings of injustice and favoritism.  I have some ideas for that.  Working on it already.

 

Ugh.  I don't know.  Thanks for reading.  Thanks to all of you for keeping up on our drama.  


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#2 of 33 Old 02-21-2013, 08:43 PM
 
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Hey, you did the thing that was right in that moment for your family. No one can possibly say what the "right" thing is or isn't. You are so hard on yourself! Your post really resonated with me bc I could have written about those same issues! I don't want to yell. I don't want to threaten, certainly, but I do it in those moments, and then I feel so ashamed. The children are not the only schoolers in the family. We are all learning how to be, together.

As unschoolers we are to.ge.ther WAY more than any other beings I can think of. And that is not easy. Right now, I am feeling quite sick, and stressed about some health concerns. I heard DS in the kitchen open ANOTHER bag of chips. The third today! And I started to get irritated, and then I thought -- geez who in the world (besides us constant-togetherers) is subject to such scrutiny? So I said nothing.

Just an example. I would like to write more, but feeling not so super. Time for bed!

Thinking of you.

Jean, happy HS mom to Peter (5), Daniel (9) and Lucie (2) and also someone new... baby.gif
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#3 of 33 Old 02-21-2013, 09:52 PM
 
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Been there, done that. Well, my scenario was different, but still, there was a drastic change of course that did not feel philosophically right to me, and yet that's where I headed.

 

Even if it ends up not being the long-term path you and your family want to take, these emergency course corrections are instructive to all. They say "something really wasn't working, and something needed to be done." They make the kids sit up and take notice and look seriously at their own behaviour and the family interactions and possible solutions. Even if you later end up backtracking on your radical adjustment, at least your family has begun to appreciate the gravity of your concerns. 

 

{{{{Hugs}}}}}

 

I know it's hard to feel like you've reached the point where you have to part ways with your ideals. It's February. I expect you'll find a more comfortable path as spring continues to unfold.

 

Miranda


Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up

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#4 of 33 Old 02-21-2013, 10:37 PM
 
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We've probably all addressed issues in ways we wish we hadn't. And your children are young. I doubt there's permanent harm. But as long as you are beating yourself up over it, you will replay it in your mind, and repeat what you don't like. It's a slippery slope.

I wish I had words of wisdom for you. I just took it one day at a time when my son was young. It wasn't until he was 13 and I stopped trying to make up for all the crappy relatives, and focused a bit on my goals, that I started to feel better about myself, and generally the parenting and homeschooling was easier, too. I put my accomplishments on display, too. It made me feel good to see something I made as a desktop background. Or a folder of pictures showing my accomplishments as the slideshow screensaver. If something you've done with your girls turns out well, or was just fun, take pictures and show them off! It will remind all of you what can be had when the petty bickering is set aside.

Besides all that, fresh air, sunshine, exercise, water, and a check for nutritional deficiencies and food allergy contaminations, are all I have to suggest. Along with a reminder that they will grow up.
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#5 of 33 Old 02-22-2013, 01:29 AM
 
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I just want to second what everyone else has said. You are in a state of emergency, at a crossroads, and at this point things get put into place that are not meant as long term solutions but to alert others to the fact that something is properly not working and give you breathing space. Think of it as an analogy to a medical emergency when you might, I dunno, put an oxygen mask on for a bit, but you wouldn't be expecting to live out your life wearing an oxygen mask! Do not beat yourself up for this. Work out what's wrong and where you want to go and fix it if you can. Communicate. But take your time, and be kind to yourself.

 

Can I also say, you sound tired. Are you getting time away from the kids, away from work, doing something that recharges you? 

 

I am sure that this is redundant, but I'm guessing you are familiar with How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, or have some other book that you get ideas from about how to communicate? I like HTT for various reasons, not least that it doesn't make me feel like an ongoing failure (greetings mr kohn) but I find I have to reread it periodically. I also read it with my kids. In fact I wonder if nowadays there might even be a book specifically for kids.

 

Just want to say too-I really love reading your posts and find them utterly inspirational. I know that this isn't why you are posting, but thank you for sharing this on here, I am certain that in the future I'll be looking back at your post and the ideas coming from it for help. Thank you for your honesty. If it helps I'd bet that nearly every parent here, at least of more than one child, will have been there, or will one day be where you are. Sharing this stuff honestly is so important because we are treading a very untrodden path, not that home/unschooling is new but in our society it is close to completely unsupported.


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#6 of 33 Old 02-22-2013, 08:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

Even if it ends up not being the long-term path you and your family want to take, these emergency course corrections are instructive to all. They say "something really wasn't working, and something needed to be done." 

 

Miranda

 

Hoping very much this is the case.  

 

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Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Besides all that, fresh air, sunshine, exercise, water, and a check for nutritional deficiencies and food allergy contaminations, are all I have to suggest. Along with a reminder that they will grow up.
We do need more fresh air and sunshine!  Things will improve when the task of getting ready to go outside isn't so involved.  I always consider allergies when we have a particularly bad streak.  I am pretty good about cross-contamination when I bake with wheat.  While I use separate cutting boards for kneading, rolling and such, I do share dishes and equipment since we are not concerned with gluten contamination.  I try to keep allergy concerns to myself, mostly, except when I need to ask dd1 to back off some of the marginal foods, like rice, due to a particularly bad run of moods.  Rice allows her to have good noodles and such and even though I know it has caused her minor problems in the past, she is allergic to so many things (the ones I have to eat exclusively because I'm allergic to her food) that I relented on this one after 2 years and noticeable improvement in symptoms.  I make sure that pastas, ice creams, etc are gluten-free because I have a better chance of avoiding ingredients that are sometimes-wheat, like food starches, syrups, etc.  Wheat causes severe moods in dd1, even with tiny amounts-- she will be sobbing and angry on the couch the entire day after she accidentally ingests some.  
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Can I also say, you sound tired. Are you getting time away from the kids, away from work, doing something that recharges you? 

 

NO!!!!  This would help so much.  As per work, I'm afraid it is the opposite:  I lost my primary client who employed me every week.  It was a huge blow to my ego as well as our finances.  Me and money do not coexist well, and I stress over it constantly.  Last year, building the house was almost unbearable.  I am so eager and excited about this spring.  I don't need a day away, really just a chance for walks and such, but recently I have chosen tasks that needed attention instead-- pitching all the old hay out of the chicken coop and putting in fresh, planting fava beans, soon clearing some blackberries.  It is stressful being home so much with the girls.  Part of the reason it is stressful is the general mood recently.  But I also feel that while it makes it difficult, there it is and it is not insurmountable.  Daily yoga has helped immensely.

 

I am sure that this is redundant, but I'm guessing you are familiar with How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, or have some other book that you get ideas from about how to communicate? I like HTT for various reasons, not least that it doesn't make me feel like an ongoing failure (greetings mr kohn) but I find I have to reread it periodically. I also read it with my kids. In fact I wonder if nowadays there might even be a book specifically for kids.

 

I have read that book numerous times.  I like the idea of the book for kids-- I will look into that.  

 

While the ideas in there are good, I began to have my doubts about some of it when one of the pieces of advice came charging back at me and I didn't like hearing it:  namely, when they don't pay attention, use one word.  I started hearing "Mom!  Shoes!" as a request for help putting on shoes and I thought to myself, "Yikes!  That makes me cringe hearing that!" so I mostly dropped it.  Maybe I was using it too much..... because they don't HEAR ME??? orngtongue.gif

 

I've also read Siblings Without Rivalry, and I'm rather scared to think how things would be around here if I didn't follow the advice.  Needless to say, either I'm doing it wrong, or it is not foolproof.  Maybe because they don't HEAR ME???  They are so wrapped up in their own dramas sometimes that it can be an Herculean task to get them to hear my words at all.  They will just continue to yell and cry on past me to their sister.  Advice goes unheeded.  I just get to this place where I realize sometimes that I am invisible for them, and yet...... anyway AAAARGH!!!!

 

Just want to say too-I really love reading your posts and find them utterly inspirational. I know that this isn't why you are posting, but thank you for sharing this on here, I am certain that in the future I'll be looking back at your post and the ideas coming from it for help. Thank you for your honesty. If it helps I'd bet that nearly every parent here, at least of more than one child, will have been there, or will one day be where you are. Sharing this stuff honestly is so important because we are treading a very untrodden path, not that home/unschooling is new but in our society it is close to completely unsupported.

 

Thank you.


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#7 of 33 Old 02-22-2013, 08:52 AM
 
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It sounds like there's a *lot* going on! Be kind to yourself. Rough patches are simply patches, and while we can do it all, it's not possible to do it all at the same time.

Sorry to hear about your client! That would get me down, for sure!

I'm sure you're making the best choices you can, right now, and will change priorities as is necessary.

If you're looking for a new client, I hope you find one soon. That'll help reduce stress, and make you feel better about yourself!
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#8 of 33 Old 02-22-2013, 09:19 AM
 
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Well, I'm in a similar place, as I've shared in another thread. I think there's value in listening to the voice inside that tells you that the status quo isn't working. Maybe neither of us has figured out the perfect solution. Maybe there isn't a perfect solution. But sometimes you just have to try something else, I think. 

 

We're all learning as we go here, and we need to be patient with ourselves. 

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#9 of 33 Old 02-23-2013, 11:48 AM
 
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First, if TV and videos cause fights, then get another TV and another DVD player (old tube type tvs tend to be free on freecycle or cheap on craigslist, and DVD players can be had for $40-50 new). Set it up in another room, then when one child wants one video and another child wants TV or a video game, both can be accommodated.  Problem solved & peace is rampant!

 

Next, I found "Punished by Rewards" to be such a helpful book.  I haven't read it in a very long time, and I imagine I didn't agree with everything in it, but it really opened my mind to how rewarding and punishing my children (taking away treats, punishing, or offering rewards) really didn't help at all, and only made things worse.  I sort of cringed at some of the things you mentioned above, because thought I have probably done some of them in our past, I realized later that they made things worse for me, and I assume they don't help your situation either.  

 

As a radical unschoolers, I find that it really is true that if you limit treats or limit tv or limit video games, the kids just want them more.  They become "forbidden fruit".  

 

If your children are eating tons of chips for instance, I find it's because they are lacking something else.  I mean, when I crave chips, it's always because I haven't eaten enough veggies and there aren't enough delicious foods around for me to eat, easily.  So for the children, get creative and make up some snack trays with cut up apples, peanut butter,  caramel for dipping, yogurt dips, cheese, crackers, grapes, celery with cream cheese & raisins, healthier blueberry muffins, cut up carrots & broccoli & dip, and keep them handy, or bring them out often.  

 

I also have always noticed a direct correlation between how many days we have stayed at home and how well my children are getting along.  Even when they were younger, if we stayed home one day, they would rarely bicker, or two days, pretty good, but three days, and sure enough, they find a million things to argue about and get on eachother's nerve.  I would try to make sure that we didn't have more than 1 or 2 days at home inbetween fun activities.  Grocery shopping, mall shopping, errand running never counted for me.  I mean things where they saw other kids, got to run around a bit, do interesting things (field trip, museum), sports (swimming, team work, individual stuff like open gym at gymnastics).  

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#10 of 33 Old 02-23-2013, 01:35 PM
 
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Just tossing out something that came to mind... what do you supposse would happen if you left them to work these things out unassisted? Have you tried? They might surprise you with a creative solution. Or... the TV might get broken. :/ Only you know them well enough to judge, of course. Good luck and warm wishes, Mama!
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#11 of 33 Old 02-23-2013, 01:39 PM
 
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To clarify, this would mean you pop in some ear buds or something to avoid all the yelling, but be close enough to observe. Or could you reframe it as a social experiment and record them to watch and discuss later?
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#12 of 33 Old 02-23-2013, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just tossing out something that came to mind... what do you supposse would happen if you left them to work these things out unassisted? Have you tried? They might surprise you with a creative solution. Or... the TV might get broken. :/ Only you know them well enough to judge, of course. Good luck and warm wishes, Mama!

Oh, yes, I have tried this, and the screaming has invariably come straight towards me!  I have also had to deal with until quite recently, an older daughter who dominated every decision and every action of her younger sister, and she complied!  Finally, a few months ago, dd2 stated quite clearly through her tears that she was tired of choosing to be "nice" and hoo! boy!  she is taking it to heart.  I do listen, I do keep out of it much of the time and much of the time the girls surprise me with incredibly creative solutions.  They are quite capable of it.  

 

What pulls me in is the intentional orneriness of my older daughter, especially.  She says things constantly to prod and make her little sister feel bad about herself.  She pushes and punches-- my lord, she's 8yo!!   And I refuse to take the "let them figure it out" to the extreme.  Perhaps it was because I was the youngest sister, but at some point I will come and referee--making sure that in working out their solutions that names are not called, punches are not thrown, little ornery comments are not dropped, in other words, keeping them on task with the problem at hand until they find a way to work together or go their separate ways.  At no time would I leave them to the mercy of their worst selves!

 

That has not been enough, though, to stop the constant bullying (that's right... that is exactly what I consider it to be).  Seriously, dd1 "deserves" to be screamed at by her little sister!  But we need to stop the screaming.  All of it.  I am literally at the point where it is a matter of considering schooling or continuing on. 

 

Unfortunately much of what we do that separates us from more radical unschoolers has been directly because of dd1's intense dominance over everyone  and everything.  I have written about it ad nauseum before-- see thread about one child dominating--yup!  that's me!) and you can read the rest there.

 

RiverSky, I hear you about the "forbidden fruit",and as much as possible I have tried to veer us away from setting rules about things.  Some rules and routines were set long before I connected them philosophically with unschooling, and the routine has been chaotic to break.  The video punishment came, though, as a direct result of dd1's dominance.  She literally screamed every time dd2 got a choice, and she purposefully chose videos dd2 hated (fair enough, I guess).  I make no apologies for that.  Her intensity was something that other families simply cannot understand until they have a child exactly like her.  Anyhow, the videos have been relaxed and that is less of an issue anyway.   But I will take them away, for now, as long as what I had been doing remains ineffectual.  

 

I have tried appealing to empathy, but for some reason that empathy is not there in spades, and dd1 has never been a naturally empathetic being.  We have continually worked on it.  I know it's there, and I bring a lot of funny and sweet videos and books home, namely about animals, to help bring this quality out (it does help!).  I emphasize helping each other.  But at 8yo, the empathy simply is not there to appeal to, not in regards to her sister in any noticeable way.  Perhaps she is on the autism spectrum, I don't know, but I've heard that it is difficult to appeal to empathy in a child when it is not there.  Well I know dd1 has some, but she is short on it.  I am not going to tolerate her endless, grinding meanness anymore in waiting for it to blossom.  So, if I cannot appeal to her empathy effectively, then taking away something she loves will at least bring some mindfulness to her actions (and dd2's, to be fair).  We can work on empathy in the meantime.

 

You are all right in that this cannot be a "solution".  I am embarrassed (?) to even think of it as such.  It is desperate. It is working.  It sucks.  But our days have grown intolerable.  INTOLERABLE.  I have lost patience with long-term solutions for now--for now!  And I am an incredibly optimistic person to have made it this far.  

 

I like the idea of radical unschooling, but unschooling was not what we started out doing, especially not as a whole-life style.  So, I have had to do some backtracking, truthfully, and, again, it has not been very smooth in some ways.  I have relaxed quite a lot of things and continue to do so.  

 

Like I said, the atmosphere here has become toxic and I if stepping outside the radical unschooling box (that I was never in, really) gets us there faster, then I am willing to do that.    That's why this is a "state of emergency".  Like the suspension of democracy to preserve democracy, I am calling this emergency, using quite a forceful tactic to get us out of this toxic brew....

 

This post is a bit all over the place, trying to cover everything that has been mentioned since my last post.  Honestly, though, I'm really interested in hearing more of what to do next, especially from those of you have have "BTDT".  


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#13 of 33 Old 02-23-2013, 02:47 PM
 
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"First, if TV and videos cause fights, then get another TV and another DVD player" & "I would try to make sure that we didn't have more than 1 or 2 days at home inbetween fun activities.  Grocery shopping, mall shopping, errand running never counted for me.  I mean things where they saw other kids, got to run around a bit, do interesting things"

 

First off, @RiverSky, just want to be clear I'm not having a go at how you have parented your kids. It worked for you and that's all that matters. I'm only picking up on it because I personally struggle with this as advice and wanted to offer a contrasting viewpoint.

 

I wouldn't do either of these things. Why? Because I think, from everything SweetSilver has posted today and previously, she's struggling with the underlying interaction between her girls. It might be worse, it being february and all the rest, but this is what she is picking up on as being the serious issue. If my kids have serious issues getting on with each other (and of course they do, as in every family) I don't jump to change their environment so that they don't come into conflict as much. In particular, I do not buy something to get us out of the mess. First, before anything else is done, we look at the conflict, look at the issues raised. Now sometimesoccasionally the problem is one of simple scarcity and can be solved through buying another item, but tbh I'm talking pencils or a second set of watercolours, not tv sets. What's the difference? Well aside from the cost, a tv set is invasive to others in the house. It takes up space-we have a smallish house and I cannot think of a single place to put a tv in the first place. It is noisy.  Also, and this might be UK specific, we have to pay a license if we use it to get broadcast tv at all, and the cost of that is probably about a half term's music lessons for someone or two terms of swimming or...etc. The rights of everyone else to peace and space-including mine-needs to be considered and negotiated before we just buy a tv and dvd combo. 

 

Also re this "As a radical unschoolers, I find that it really is true that if you limit treats or limit tv or limit video games, the kids just want them more.  They become "forbidden fruit"."Truly I have never, ever seen this in my kids. We are not radical unschoolers and we strictly limit certain foods. We do this because we have serious tooth cavity problems in our families and at least two of my kids are prone to cavities (though all mine are so far cavity free). We explain why, we talk about this, we are not "mwahahaha you can't have candy". But we also don't habitually buy crisps or anything either. At parties, my kids are not the ones loading up their plates with junk. Also, we don't have broadcast tv and mainly for reasons of circumstance, while they do have theoretically pretty free access to the tv and wii and computers, they are a bit of a treat because its a faff to get them out and unpack the disks and so on. We don't-can't, for space reasons-make it easy for them to watch tv. The kids don't seem to mind and certainly are not the ones obsessing over tv whenever they get a minute on it, watching any old junk. They will all read a book in preference to a movie they don't particularly want to watch. So in my experience, its possible to restrict tv and "junk" food and totally not end up with kids who binge on it if they get the chance. I think the key is communication. I tell my kids why I am setting limits, and show my reasoning. My personal experience, and the experience my kids have fed back to me, is that tv and "junk food" are highly addictive, so the more you do the more you want to, but you don't actually get much out of the experience of eating junk or watching loads of tv. I've always been more in favour of encouraging other hobbies so that the tv isn't just there are a fall back. 

 

I'm with you on the punishment and reward: my issue with alfie kohn is more that I feel his work is just impossible to apply in a situation of crisis with multiple kids. I think one thing that is really important about him is that he just has NO personal experience in dealing with close in age siblings. His kids are about 5 years apart iirc and his other experience is of being a teacher, so non siblings. That powerful relationship between siblings just a few years apart is utterly something else and when that is what you are primarily dealing with-as I understand Sweet Silver to be-you need someone who is writing from the trenches, not sending smug vibes from on high.


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I also have always noticed a direct correlation between how many days we have stayed at home and how well my children are getting along.  ....  I would try to make sure that we didn't have more than 1 or 2 days at home inbetween fun activities.  

 

I believe part of the difficulty with SweetSilver's inter-family dynamics is her eldest dd's refusal to leave the house even when others are interested in outside 'fun' stuff, or time out of doors, or what-have-you. Nor is she happy if other family members go outside for the activities they enjoy: she wants her mom to stay inside the house with her and is prone to huge meltdowns if her mom insists on going out anyway. So essentially the whole family gets held hostage. 

 

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My guess is that if there was a second tv/dvd option, one set would be considered "better" and they would continue to fight over who got to use that one vs. "getting stuck" with the other. 

 

My experience with my kids is that if someone wants to fight, they will find a reason. 

 

I'm not sure if this would work, but in addition to what you're doing, can you also talk about what they *can* do when they feel yucky and are inclined to fight? Would a bath help? Play dough? Going for a run? Shooting baskets? Have they done a self-check to see if they're hungry/tired/uncomfortable/over-stimulated?

 

If they can learn to recognize the feeling that leads to them striking out before they strike out and come up with a better way to handle it, that would be ideal, I think. 

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I wouldn't do either of these things. Why? Because I think, from everything SweetSilver has posted today and previously, she's struggling with the underlying interaction between her girls. It might be worse, it being february and all the rest, but this is what she is picking up on as being the serious issue. 

 

This is it, exactly.  We could help the dynamic by altering what we do, make more games at home we do as a family, make some times for them to be separate, stir it up to ease the tension, but it does not remove the entire premise for the struggles we are having.  Neither is this recent change in parenting, either, but it is focussing on what is making things the most difficult.  Those strategies certainly help, but we need to work on creative solutions for healing whatever has been plaguing us for so long-- including my contributions to it.

 

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I also have always noticed a direct correlation between how many days we have stayed at home and how well my children are getting along.  ....  I would try to make sure that we didn't have more than 1 or 2 days at home inbetween fun activities.  

 

I believe part of the difficulty with SweetSilver's inter-family dynamics is her eldest dd's refusal to leave the house even when others are interested in outside 'fun' stuff, or time out of doors, or what-have-you. Nor is she happy if other family members go outside for the activities they enjoy: she wants her mom to stay inside the house with her and is prone to huge meltdowns if her mom insists on going out anyway. So essentially the whole family gets held hostage. 

 

Miranda

Yes, Miranda, this is huge, and thanks for helping bring this thread into context for those who haven't been keeping up with our soap opera over the months and years here.  I have been giving her loads of fair warnings of what to expect in the spring.  Unfortunately, this one we have to both charge on forward, and try to sometimes hang back.  It is an incredibly difficult balance to strike.  

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My guess is that if there was a second tv/dvd option, one set would be considered "better" and they would continue to fight over who got to use that one vs. "getting stuck" with the other. 

 

I purposefully avoided bringing up the TV so as not to appear stubborn and contrary, but for many reasons, another TV is not going to happen.  Also, Fillyjonk mentioned how terribly invasive TVs can be, and both dd1 and I have difficulty tuning the TV out.

 

My experience with my kids is that if someone wants to fight, they will find a reason.  Yup.  That is us in a nutshell.

 

I'm not sure if this would work, but in addition to what you're doing, can you also talk about what they *can* do when they feel yucky and are inclined to fight? Would a bath help? Play dough? Going for a run? Shooting baskets? Have they done a self-check to see if they're hungry/tired/uncomfortable/over-stimulated?  We do some of that, but I like some of the suggestions you've made, namely the self-check.

 

If they can learn to recognize the feeling that leads to them striking out before they strike out and come up with a better way to handle it, that would be ideal, I think. And that's the point--self awareness?  We have worked on this somewhat, but either my past methods have been ineffectual or (actually--duh!--nevermind!orngtongue.gif)

Today was a really good day.  Some spats, for sure, but they handled them well--  except one loss of tomorrow's treats when dd1 yelled angrily to dd2 "you're slow, you stupid muffet head!" but she is earning it back by being perfectly civil for the rest of the day.  So far, so good.  To her credit, she has had several opportunities to bash into her sister while going by after a fight, and she has instead given her a wide berth while stomping by.  Progress!  And not one fuss when I went outside to walk around the place with dh, talking about our plans, etc.  More progress!  

 

No meltdowns from dd2 (she's been eating well--I mean by that, "enough", an ongoing problem for my notoriously picky eater).  DD1 helped me make granola-- I distracted her from an impending tussle with her sister, which resulted in tears from dd2, but there would have been anyway.  Then dd1 talked about what we needed to make a dress she is designing-- fabrics, what she was going to do to help, whether she wanted to do it in time for the fair and submit it as an entry, etc.  We all eagerly caught a sunny (but brrr! cold!) stretch to collect nettles for dinner-- something we have talked about for weeks.  Vegging in front of the computer screen watching Electric Company on hulu-- thankfully something they both adore.  I'm taking a computer break here while the chicken is stewing.  My energy has been kinda slow today, so I'm taking it easy but getting some chores done slowly.

 

Thanks all who have hung in there and understood what we are dealing with.


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#17 of 33 Old 02-23-2013, 06:47 PM
 
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I believe part of the difficulty with SweetSilver's inter-family dynamics is her eldest dd's refusal to leave the house even when others are interested in outside 'fun' stuff, or time out of doors, or what-have-you. Nor is she happy if other family members go outside for the activities they enjoy: she wants her mom to stay inside the house with her and is prone to huge meltdowns if her mom insists on going out anyway. So essentially the whole family gets held hostage. 

 

Miranda

 

Ahhhh, so that's an important piece of info.  Also, when SweetSilver started to explain how intense the situation is and that her DD doesn't have much empathy and might be on the autism spectrum helped me see the situation better.  All of that is a bit of a different story.  

 

It reminds me of a friend's DD who had SPD and could be explosive and intense.  Though certain things helped before this, the thing that helped the most was a year of counseling & family counseling when the little girl was 7.  The counseling helped the little girl find ways to deal with her anger, tools to get out her frustrations and impressed upon her why it wasn't fair for the rest of the family to be unsafe with her around.  Even though the parents were fantastic parents, the counselor also helped them to find ways to avoid outbursts and assist their daughter remember the tools she learned to help herself.  I remember the girl really got comfort from sensory toys (gravel in boxes, weighted blankets, bear hug/squishes).

 

The other thing that this makes me think of is growing up with my brother.  Still to this day, at 40, I am pretty sure he has zero empathy.  When we were young, they didn't have the tools to diagnose him with anything, but they sure tried, many times, to no avail.  I am generally not a fan of labels and think there is a larger range of typical than many, but if a "label" helps a family find ways to help their child, then I can see that it can be helpful.  As far as my brother goes, though he was younger than me, he was a terror and it was hellish to live with him, and always be his victim.  My mother would do almost nothing about it, and I would be left to deal with it.  When I was bigger and stronger than him, I could hold him down and physically not let him up, but I was always such a peaceful person, this was awful for me.  At some point, he (as a boy) started to get bigger and stronger than me, and I was toast.  It wasn't long before he threw me across the room, headfirst into the corner of a table.  I bled for hours.  It doesn't sound to me as if your daughter is like my brother, but I just wanted to explain how hard it was to be a sibling in that situation.

 

So I have such empathy for your other children and think you should try to focus on creating safe spaces for them, for now.  I still think the idea of another TV and a DVD player (can't it just not be hooked up to cable, would that avoid the license issue?) in a room that can be closed or door locked, so that the younger children can have a safe space if the 8 y.o. is on a rampage?  Then hopefully some counseling will help the 8 year old to grow out of and deal with the things she has trouble with.  

 

I do think that the OP needs to pick and choose battles (as we all do).  If one or two of the common battles can be reduced (like the TV struggle), then perhaps she will have more energy to handle the other parts.  

 

Best wishes!

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#18 of 33 Old 02-23-2013, 06:50 PM
 
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About tuning the TV out...some TVs have headphone jacks.  My children have tablets and they can watch shows on those, with earbuds.  It's fine if you still think that an extra TV can't work.  :)

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#19 of 33 Old 02-23-2013, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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 It doesn't sound to me as if your daughter is like my brother, but I just wanted to explain how hard it was to be a sibling in that situation.

 

 

Oddly enough, I'm glad in a way that I waited this long before instituting this new tactic, because it has only in the last few months that dd2 has stood up for herself against her dominating sister.  I think somehow it pushed her into finally pushing back--something I wish I had learned as a kid.  Don't be fooled!  DD2 is no slouch for major frustrations--she doesn't listen (and she's had her hearing professionally tested--it's fine!)  And while dd1 brews and stews and throws her seemingly endless grumps around (and only occasionally has an all-out tantrum), dd2 is mostly cheery until suddenly she ISN"T AND ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE!!!!  THEN HOLD ON TO YOUR HATS, BECAUSE IF YOU WANNA DO ANYTHING EXCEPT EXACTLY WHAT SHE DEMANDS YOU ARE IN FOR ONE LONG, COMMITTED RIDE!!  (Sorry about the caps.....)  

 

So, yes, I am very good about picking my battles.  My battles have mostly been focussed on being civil to one another. That doesn't mean "not get angry".  It doesn't mean "get along".  It doesn't mean "never pitch a fit."  It means follow certain rules in expressing your anger.  It means not spending every other minute in a day you feel grouchy tearing your sister down so you can feel better.  I tell them, "It is not that you shouldn't feel angry or grumpy-- you are limited in how much you can control your feelings-- but it is what you do while you are in those moods that counts."

 

I'm worn down because it just seems endless sometimes, and it's something I have been working on for years.  And yes, part of it is simply that it's February!


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#20 of 33 Old 02-23-2013, 07:35 PM
 
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This thread reminded me of my Emergency Course Correction moment three and a half years ago, so I went back and read the whole huge thread over again. Wow! What a wave of emotion that brought on. I could write a whole new entry to follow up on the issues we were grappling with back then, but I'll save that for another time and maybe another place.

 

Mostly I just wanted to raise an idea that surfaced in the middle of that thread from Scott Noelle's "Daily Groove":

 

"When we give the kind of attention in which we are constantly asking our children what they want or need — when they sense our feelings of uncertainty or fear of failing to meet their needs (and our own projected needs) — then naturally they will feel unsettled if not completely freaked out!
 

"This is no different for adults. Think how you’d feel if you needed brain surgery and the surgeon seemed to lack confidence in his or her ability. Of course, you’d seek another surgeon with whom you felt secure, but self-confidence alone would not be adequate. You’d want someone who would also pay close attention to your needs throughout the process."

 

Sometimes kids get stuck -- in habits or behavioural patterns or stages of development or whatever -- and they're unhappy being stuck, and they would benefit from help getting unstuck because they don't really understand how to do so themselves. But unschooled parents can feel uncomfortable with providing the push or nudge that would accomplish that unsticking because we want to preserve our child's autonomy and not make top-down parental decrees. Most of the time we want to consult our children and get their help shaping the way we guide them. But during "stuck" times, consulting the kids to try to figure out what they are wanting or asking for or can really feed their unhappiness and anxiety. Because they can easily interpret parental unwillingness to take the bull by the horns as coming from a place of fear and uncertainty. "Even mommy doesn't know how to get me to behave better. She can't figure out how our family could be happier. Even she doesn't know what to do. How could I possibly know?" Sometimes unschooled kids need their parents to be leaders, if only because this sends the message that the parents believe that the problems can be solved. 

 

So I think that even if the problem isn't solved by decisive parental action, kids can benefit from a decisive action because it makes them feel that mom is there to help, and she believes things are worth fixing and that fixing is possible.

 

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#21 of 33 Old 02-23-2013, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think I do need to pay more attention to that, Miranda.  That's something I need to observe in myself-- trying to see myself through their eyes. I have been vocally baffled, and dd1 at least "tries" really hard, and I need to show a bit more confidence in her.  Hard, very hard considering all I've written about and the time I have dedicated to working through this.  

 

I'm interested in reading your thread, but I've spent more than enough time in front of here today.  Time to shut this thing down.


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#22 of 33 Old 02-24-2013, 05:39 PM
 
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Have you tried separating them? Perhaps having a place the younger can go to get away from the bullying? If she had her own room put a lock on the door so she can go shut herself in. I think letting kids take ownership of their things and their area is really important. If the younger child doesn't want to be bothered she can go to her area, if the older child wants her to open her area up to her she'll have to be kind of else her sister won't want her in her space. Fact is you can't be a jerk to people and expect them to want to be around you....but when it's your sibling it's hard because they happen to live with you. If it was just a friend she could say "I don't want to hang out with you anymore".
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#23 of 33 Old 02-24-2013, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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All excellent ideas, SpiderMum.  That was how I dealt with my older sisters when I was growing up.  My room was my sanctuary, mostly.  At first, I was practically driven there to get away from them, but I loved being in there, I loved the freedom.  I read, I drew as I told stories to myself, I acted out scenes over and over again, I played with my "figurines".  It was a rich life and I was supremely happy to be left alone in there.

 

My girls are another story.  They want.... need to be in the thick of it, and being how I was when I was younger I have a difficult time wrapping my head around this (to say the least!)  We have held this conversation many, many times, and they both choose being in the fray rather than being in the bedroom.  When dd1 is frustrated and grumpy, she has a hard time tuning out any noise, and as someone who is the same way, it makes it doubly frustrating for me why she would choose to be "pestered" by (the existence of) her sister than retreat to the solitude of a bedroom.  Why dd2 would rather be near her sister instead of that same solitude-- I know why I just don't particularly don't understand it.

 

That is the last reason why a TV in the bedroom just won't work (for now).  The bedroom (and yes, for now it is ONE BEDROOM!) is Siberia.  We moved here from a house with 3 bedrooms last year, and we were still all in one room, and there was a least one other perfectly good bedroom to play in that was never played in or slept in.  We still all lived in that one bedroom, so the fact that we don't have the extra space doesn't for now play a big role in either causing nor solving our problems.

 

It is a painful process in a way, but we are adjusting.  This is becoming a conversation, and they are good ones.  The girls have mostly been getting along today again, and we have worked through some righteous anger quite smoothly (caused by some "ungraciousness" on the part of dd2, and some accidental "miscoloring"!)  DD1 and I discussed that while I want to work on graciousness, right now I am focussing on simple civility.  Then.... after the selfishness from dd2 comes a request from her that is firmly denied by dd1.  I sensed an impending implosion from dd2, but, just as I was about to suggest it, dd2 had an idea that not only resolved the current problem, but resolved the previous one.  Graciousness!!  And I wasn't even pushing for that right now, though I always try to help them take that path.

 

Of course, dd1 and I had that same conversation.... choosing to be in the thick of it, even though her sister annoys her (by moving and breathing, often) she wants to be there.  She has some extra work to do today to "earn back" her treats due to some "minor" orneriness late in the afternoon--being helpful, being gracious as well as being civil.  But she is really, really trying.  She hates it, but like Miranda pointed out, kids are often baffled as to change their behavior themselves, and this is true of dd1.  DD2 preempted some screaming she was starting with a warning.  Oh, thank heavens!

 

I hate to say it, but it's working so far.  I'm going to give it a couple of months or so to give these habits a chance to slough off before revisiting this with the girls to find out if we can change how this is approached.  Sooner if I feel that it is starting to cause more problems than it solves.  But right now?  I'll take that chance.


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#24 of 33 Old 02-26-2013, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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WE had a perfect day yesterday.

 

DD1 is motivated by rewards-- she loves the idea of badges, ribbons, pins (she was surprised and thrilled when she received her first-year pin for 4-H), money, and little rewards like candy and toys.  She has been at her best when she has been earning her treats and videos back. So, I'm going to take it one step farther and do a reward chart for her-- something that focusses on the positive rather than the punitive (which will still be there).  I'm mulling over the specifics, but the idea is that if she makes it the whole day without even a warning that I'm going to take away treats, she gets a gold star.  (Warning her when she is in "that mood" which tends to lead to her getting in trouble doesn't count against it).  Accumulating 7 stars or so and she will earn an extra treat.  28 (?) stars in one month or consecutively will give her (them--both girls fall under this system) an extra 1/2 riding lesson, assuming her instructor has time.  

 

I agonize over losing intrinsic motivation and resorting to bribe-style tactics I am so critical of, but I am reconsidering this in this situation.  For one, they are older and are more likely to see this for what it is: a trick of sorts to help them act appropriately.  For similar reasons, I also have nixed the idea that this isn't helping them intrinsically motivate themselves. Especially dd1, she knows what she is doing, but doesn't know how to help herself.  Then she feels bad about herself compared to her little sister, who "never gets in trouble" (ahem!), making dd1 the "mean one" and that is all her sister's fault.  Which, in an odd, roundabout way, it is caused by her sister.  If together we can combine her motivation to behave better (which, because the trouble occurs when she is angry, is hampered by emotion and lack of self-control) along with her energetic motivation to earn rewards, I think we can cinch this.

 

I predict what will happen is, the more she minds her behavior, the better she will view herself.  THe better view she has of herself, the less need she will have to "blame" her sister for her inability to behave.   The more she can relax and like her sister more of the time.  I realize now how much this cycle is the driving force behind the storm that has raged for years.  She started to really get in trouble when her sister was born, and therefore it has always been her sister's fault that I've ever gotten angry with dd1 (the girls are 21 months apart in age).

 

I think what will be important is to make sure she understands that the source of her civil behavior is still coming from within herself, even though I am using carrots and sticks to guide her to the right "gate", as it were.


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#25 of 33 Old 02-26-2013, 08:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This thread reminded me of my Emergency Course Correction moment three and a half years ago, so I went back and read the whole huge thread over again. 

 

Miranda

 

Miranda, I've been reading your "whole huge thread", though I've been skimming a bit, focussing on your own posts and your responses to certain statements.  Very helpful.  I have a few more posts to finish up, but later today.

 

I especially enjoyed the conversation about self-regulation.  This post from Piglet68 (where are you these days????) stood out to me, especially the paragraph I bolded:

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I've thought alot about the issue of self-regulation, too. I can only say from my own family's experiences, but it seems to me that young children cannot truly self-regulate because their view of the world is rather restrictive. They cannot see the "big picture". For example, I can tell my son 'till I'm blue in the face that not brushing teeth will lead to cavities and a lifetime of dental work. He understands the words, but thinking in that context is so far outside his current realm of experience that he just isn't able to self-regulate based on that info (info that hasn't been gained by his own repeated experiences and consequences). He does not like brushing or flossing and, if left to his own devices, simply would choose not to. He may SAY he understands the consequences, but in his world he cannot visualize them enough to make them real and worth considering. I *could* just let him find out himself, but ruining his teeth and oral health for the purposes of "teaching him" why teeth must be brushed doesn't seem the act of a responsible parent. Ultimately, teeth brushing is something he has to do, and by making it part of a routine there is less conflict than if I just randomly stepped in every now and then and insisted I take over his program, kwim?

With screen time I've found that my kids are actually pretty good at self-regulating. I watch it closely and have seen no evidence that it is interfereing with their other forms of play or activities. However, I'm quite certain that there are kids out there who cannot self-regulate in this regard. I think about those odd days when I get sucked into my own computer in the morning, and before I know it the day is half gone, the kids haven't been fed, I'm still in my jammies....I feel crummy and the day is not satisfying. I can only imagine how much harder it must be for a child who can't really figure out their emotions enough to connect them to the screen time, or who may not be able to identify the problem (or even then, convince themselves enough to make a real effort to stop). Again, it then seems to be that a responsible parent will step in and make some rules or structure around those activities.

I unschool, but I do not RU for reasons I've just described. I'm sure it works great for some kids and some families but it doesn't for mine. One thing I'd like to emphasize in this thread is that there is a difference (IMO) between one and the other. It is perfectly possible to unschool but still have parents setting boundaries and making rules that the kids may not agree with. The tricky part for me is figuring out when the kids really need us to step in, and when we are doing so too much and robbing them of their ability to problem solve and gain life experience by doing and seeing what happens. Definitely family harmony is one reason I'd feel the need to step in, but other issues aren't quite so clear to me. Which is one of many reasons I'm really enjoying this thread!

 


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#26 of 33 Old 02-26-2013, 09:02 AM
 
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My older son, 6 going on 7, is also very intense and controlling, and can get rather obsessed over getting screen time (minecraft and certain youtube channels mainly). I've set a certain 2 hours daily they can use screens if there's nothing better to do, and if they act out especially related to screens but with a warning it can be for any reason, they loose screen time for a day. If it continues it might be multiple days. Natural consequences make more sense but once you've set the rule and told them the consequence for x is y, there it is. Keep it clear and constant. Arbitrary punishment is one thing, following through fairly with what you have explained is another.

 

We do have multiple screen options so both kids can use one - there's TV with netflix, an iPad, and a computer. They share sometimes but usually use computer and iPad simultaneously.

 

Another thing I have to remind him is he needs to control himSELF not his brother, and if his brother is doing wrong tell me, don't try and stop him unless it's immediately dangerous. He's big on trying to discipline his little brother, as well as setting the rules for their games.

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#27 of 33 Old 02-26-2013, 10:49 AM
 
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My 8 year old dd has also required me to change my approach to meet her needs.  I do not like punishments or rewards and I really tried to avoid taking something away for mean/destructive behavior or just not cooperating.  It has been a long learning curve and I have to say that I'm still learning . . . .but my dd is now behaving and also showing genuine empathy.  I've had to do away with the idea of letting her discover good behavior for herself (it worked so well for her older sister).  My younger one really needs modeling and expectations.  She has responded to this so readily that I am sad I didn't realize it sooner - but we can only do what we can . . . parenthood is quite the adventure!

 

Here is what I found out:

 

DD comes across as outgoing and wanting to be the center of attention . . . needing to control everything from what she eats to how play happens.  She insisted on choosing her own clothes at 18 months when she realized she could take her clothes off if she didn't like them.  What we finally learned (because dd was able to finally put it into words) is that she is really shy and really wants someone else to take a strong lead so she can melt into the crowd (or to melt into clear expectations).  Her shyness makes her feel very uncomfortable and when she's uncomfortable or doesn't not know the expectations or boundaries in a situation she will manically take control to get a sense of boundaries.  

 

So we did an experiment and removed many choices so that boundaries and expectations where solid.  She tested them at first, throwing some awesome fits and being quite mean to her older sister but she very quickly relaxed into being the kid and not trying to control everything. When I see the behavior come up I know it's a sign I'm not "holding" her as firmly as she needs.  This has been very uncomfortable for me . . . but we have very different personalities and I've needed to be the mom she needs me to be.  It's getting a whole lot better!  We had only 1 fit in the last 7 weeks.  It used to be multiple fits a day.  Here is some of what we did:  

 

- Dessert is only on Fridays only - if she and her sister agree, they can request a particularly favorite dessert.  When I'm asked if she can have dessert I get to say yes!  "yes, on Friday . . . maybe you want to talk with your sister about what sounds good".

 

- Clothes follow the Waldorf colors of the week (reducing the dressing overwhelm . . . just find your purple outfit for tomorrow because it will be Monday) and must be chosen the day before or earlier if she wants to have choice is what she wears.  Otherwise I set out her clothes.

 

- Meals follow a pattern (Tuesday is sourdough pancakes for breakfast, leftovers for lunch and a pasta meal for dinner).  I particularly don't like this one because I like to be inspired by the day or the grocery sales, but for some reason this patterning has really helped.  I give myself some leeway - pasta dinner could be spaghetti with meat sauce or bow ties with dairy-free pesto but it's still a pasta dinner.  Evening meal does not always happen at the same time, due to an older sister with some late afternoon/evening activities, but there is still a pattern that seems to help our 8year old relax.

 

- We found stories about bravery and helpers and read them so dd could have someone to look to as an example when she starts feeling overwhelmed and wants to start controlling things.  Quiet time, 3 deep breaths, etc. did/do not work for her . . . she needs calming tools that are more active - like drawing or repeating something from a story where someone had a similar conflict and had to be brave and remain calm, or the opportunity to punch couch pillows.  As she has been able to read independently she has found reading helpful.

 

-I found that low blood sugar affects her moods in a major way.  I've had to reduce sugars so she doesn't go through the sugar high/low roller coaster.  Sometimes, if I'm late on a snack or didn't get enough protein in her breakfast and she starts swirling into a mood I've found a half spoonful of honey, followed by "we are not doing anything until we have snack" has helped to completely reverse a breakdown.  We've gone through this enough that she now is starting to recognize when she feels weird and probably needs some food.

 

- I had to find out what her "currency" is.  Currency is something she values and would be very upset if it were taken away.  This has changed over time, but it was eye opening to realize that her currency has usually been very different than what I would have thought.  It turns out that the length of story time at bedtime is really important to her, so reducing that for misbehavior has been a very strong motivator.  (yuk, I hated taking that one away)  Taking away her favorite toys for a day at a time has also been in the rotation.  Sounds like treats and screen time are important to your dd. 

 

- Play dates with friends who are comfortable within their own skin and can happily say "no I don't want to play that, how about we do this?" and then are open to compromise.  Friends who never stand up for what they want and friends who only want their own way are too much of a trigger for dd, so we've reduce our exposure to them so dd can experience positive play dates.

 

- I given myself timeouts.  When I find myself yelling I stop and tell the girls I need a time out for a few minutes because "this is not working for any of us".  I go to my room and endure 3 minutes of chaos and door pounding.  I don't say anything back unless it is to say I'm extending the time because it seems we need more time to quiet down.

 

- A family calendar and charts for expectations have been very helpful.  It has removed the potential for direct conflict.  Rather than "I said you need to do this"  it's "Let's see, it's 4:30pm what do we need to do?  Let's go check the chart!"  

 

Hang in there!  Spring is well on its way.

 

: )

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#28 of 33 Old 02-26-2013, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by JamieCatheryn View Post

 

 

Another thing I have to remind him is he needs to control himSELF not his brother, and if his brother is doing wrong tell me, don't try and stop him unless it's immediately dangerous. He's big on trying to discipline his little brother, as well as setting the rules for their games.

We struggle with this as well.

 

I think the big, red herring in this thread is the screen time, which is not a big issue anymore since--why, yes-- since we relaxed restrictions on the TV.  The girls are better able to self-regulate their activities in regards to screen time now they are older, and since I no longer limit their viewing to one video or set of videos (totaling about 1.5 hours, once upon a time) I no longer have to have strict video days "belonging" to one girl.  Because they can choose another video after the girl whose "day" it is (old habits die hard) tensions are diffused.  

 

So, while I can learn a lot by hearing how other people handle screen time as an example, screen time in and of itself is not an issue here anymore.


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#29 of 33 Old 02-26-2013, 10:19 PM
 
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I am also constantly reminding my daughter to call us for help when her brother is into something rather than try to handle it herself....she often ends up hurting him trying to "help" him. Her intentions are GOOD, but it's really not her job.

Also I have to remind her that insta-meltdown isn't helpful...if there is an issue, ask for help rather than freaking out immediately.....ask for help before yanking something from another child.....ask for help before hitting another child, etc. It gets old....but I guess it will sink in? lol
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#30 of 33 Old 02-27-2013, 07:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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 It gets old....but I guess it will sink in? lol

Oh, brother!  Do I wish I had an answer for you on this one.  I can't even think how many times I have been through that spiel!


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