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Picture of us: 7yo, 4yo, 3yo, 21month, 2 weekold. 2 parent household. Dad leaves for work at 3:45pm and comes home middle of the night. I stay at home all day.

We are having a problem with ... everything... We got really lost in the tv with my last 2 pregnancies (bedrest). The tv is on all the time, whether on my shows or theirs. ugh. The kids don't play very well together. The 4yo is CONSTANTLY acting up, throwing fits, screams at everyone. The 3yo is now starting to ignore us and is picking up the screaming. 21month old has turned into a hitter the moment I had the new baby.

Our house is set up with 2 bedrooms--1 huge one, 1 tiny one, plus a living room on one side. The big room is a playroom, as the 3 and 4 yo refuse to sleep anywhere other than the living room floor (no tv on, though). The small bedroom is for the 21month old. We have a baby gate to keep the kids on that side. Then there's another small bedroom, the kitchen, bathroom, and another huge bedroom. We keep the 7yo in the room on that side, although he is allowed to play with the other kids in the playroom and living room.

Here's the problem: The girls, with all their misbehaving and ignoring us, have destroyed the house. We kept dressers in the closets because they take out all their clothes and throw them everywhere. We keep board games at the tops of the closets so they would stay in good condition between uses. Well, they still got to the clothes. And started climbing the dressers and destroyed the games. They took all clothes off the hangers more than once (just in the last week!!!). They broke the 3yo's toddler bed by jumping on it while I asked, told, begged them to stop. We ended up moving everything around a few days ago to the current arrangement to see if we could ease some sort of....anything. Well, they snuck into the 21month old's closet and stood in the dresser drawers he has (I MADE the dresser when I was prg with #1! :( ) and broke the drawers. They took all his toys out and threw them everywhere.

Discpline is a joke here. We've tried spanking a while ago. It didnt work and made us feel awful. We switched to time outs. The girls throw themselves on the ground and scream and wont go into time out, and I'm just 2 weeks postbaby so I can't be lifting them. My dh is losing it and has taken to just talking to them like he's annoyed by them aaaall the time, which he is. He's tired of them not listening. He's tired of having to discipline ALL THE TIME without a nice moment between any of us. The 7yo still gets time outs but he's not really acting up much. He does things that annoy us, like disciplining the other kids, tattling, and now he's starting to "lightly tap" the other kids with toys...which is totally unacceptable for a 7yo. He's a liar about a LOT of things but timeouts seem dumb for his age.

We can't do a lot of crafts and such. They destroy everything they touch. We have a huge kitchen table for them to sit at to do projects but they wont sit at all. they run around and start getting trash out, take out our recycling, try to play in the bathroom, run into our bedroom (we just prefer they not be in our room, and from 6am-1pm, dh is sleeping in there), scream. Even coloring is stressful as they just start ripping up the papers as soon as I turn my back. I've tried sitting with them to do the fun stuff and standing nearby. Both ways we end up being super stressed with the entire kitchen a wreck. Even simple coloring in a coloring book leads me to an hour long kitchen clean!

I'm so stressed out. It's not JUST with the new baby...it's everything. What do we do? How do we make our lives better? I want to LIKE being with kids..... :(

Oh, and baby has reflux and I'm still working on putting him down. When we moved the house around, we took his nursery and gave it the 7yo (baby sleeps with me and will for at least 6 months) so I dont have a lot of places to safely put him while doing major discipline Even the 4yo wont leave the baby alone if I put him alone for 20 seconds.

I'm starting to wish I had spread my kids out by 20 years.... :(
 

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No advice really, but I couldn't read this and not post. It sounds like you are in desperate need of some grown up help. Is there any way you can get a family member to pitch in for the next few weeks at the very least? If not, perhaps consider a mommy's helper or even day care part days for a few kids? If it were me, I'd totally lose my mind. It isn't realistic to expect you to do it all yourself, and it sounds like your DH is on such a totally opposite schedule that you are responsible for 100% of the parenting every day. That's really hard with one kid, but with five?????

You need to be able to recover from childbirth, so that is one issue, the discipline issue is something totally different that I don't know how to begin to help you. With that many kids, unfortunately, it sounds like the only option is to try to introduce some serious structure. How to do that as an only parent though, I just don't know. Best of luck and hugs.
 

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Can you see if a local teenager or older child is willing to come play for a few hours a day, just so you can have a kindofsortofnotreally break?

I find going out most helpful when things get BIG, big body movements, lots of running, etc.

I wish there was a cure all. :(
 

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you need some help mama! Is there anyone that can come help you out for a while?

try to remind yourself that they are adjusting to the new baby and life will be crazy for a while.
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I'm horrible with discpline so I'm not going to even try to help you there. lol But I can say a good routine is a life saver! With you have some many so close I would actually do a fairly strict schedule for everyone, but the baby. At least until life is under control a bit. It is really hard to wing it with a lot of kids. Make your meal times and you sleep times be the same time every.single. day. Try to carve out a few minutes to sit on the floor and play with the toddlers/preschoolers. Make sure they are getting outside enough. Do you have a yard? Are the older ones able to start school in the fall? Get some books on tape. I found my kids behave a lot worse when they watch to much TV. I would def try to get it off. I also find when they watch to much they don't actually watch it. So if you limit the amount of time they are watching then, put on a movie once a day they may actually sit and watch and give you a break!

It sounds to me like the older kids are bored/looking for attention. They also sound smart, creative, and inquisitive :) Is your playroom 100% baby/child proofed? Can you set up a few activities every night for them to do in the morning (again I realize you just had a baby so this might not work until you are recovered all the way). By storing most of your toys out of sight then setting up a few things for them to find in the morning it should help them learn to play better and keep things exciting and interesting. Have about 4(or whatever) different toys set up. They can only choose from those 4 toys (I'm thinking sets of toys here not 4 random toys lol). Hide everything else (do you have a basement or attic for storage) so they can't trash it. Once they get better about playing not not destroying everything you can slowly add more things. But for now just put out a few things and that is their toys for the day. Can you add hook and eye locks on the bedroom doors so they cant trash them while your not looking?

If art is to stressful don't do it right now! Slowly build it into your routine when you are feeling up for it. For now aim for meals on time, sleep on time, regular outside time, a some time playing on the floor with them. If you can stick to a routine I bet the behavior will improve all on it's own.

Also try putting a slide or something active in your playroom for rainy days. we have these http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00041048 and my kids love them! We have also had mini trampolines and small slides in the house before. I only have three and they can sure get busy I can't imagine 5!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you ladies.

Unfortunately, hiring anyone for help or sending anyone off to daycare isn't possible. A few days after the baby was born, our only vehicle broke down and dh had the week off, unpaid. We are so far behind. :(

Relatives... I think my family is scared. I only have my sisters and parents here, no one else. I have had a friend or 2 offer to come by and visit but they are wanting to come by and "chat" and all that...its just too much to think of, entertaining anyone or even just talking to someone while the kids go nuts.

DH is possibly working overtime tomorrow, but he will have 2 days off for the weekend. I'm hoping he can help me implement some new discipline techniques and us trying to put away some of their toys. We are looking into a new baby gate, as the one we have can be undone by all but the baby and climbed over by everyone. We're thinking maybe installing a full door--with a split top so they dont feel shut out but I can still keep them where they need to be.

thank you ladies. If anyone has any more ideas, post them! I will be sitting hubby down tomorrow to make a plan of action :)
 

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wow, i would be losing it too. sounds like a really tough situation. here are some more ideas to keep your sanity until you have the energy to work on behavior changes:

*earplugs for your husband, and a doorknob for the bedroom that locks from the inside. if he can sleep without interruption he may be less annoyed with the kids. regardless of what else you do, i would do that for sure.

*doorknobs for closet doors that lock with a key. get whatever toys and clothes the kids will need for the day in the morning, and then close and lock the door. let the kids know that if they break the toys you have gotten out for the day, they will just not have more toys until the next day.

*hold "contests" to see who can do the most jumping jacks, or run in place the longest. it gets out lots of that excess energy. i don't know if you have a yard, but my mom used to send my siblings and i out to run laps around the house while she stood on the porch with the youngest and cheered us on. try to turn their acting out into a game of some sort. it will take the stress out of the situation which will then make it easier to try to change the behavior later.

*in the same vein, have a designated screaming time, where everybody gets to yell as loud as they can for a minute. you could even join in. make it a game, to diffuse the tension. again, gets out the energy and tension. though you might want to put the new baby in another room during the yell-fest. cheer them on with "wow! what a great yell!"etc. they seem like they are screaming to get attention, even though negative attention. so instead, during the designated "yelling time" give them positive attention. affirm that they have lots of energy and stress from the family changes. after the amount of time that you have designated has passed, ask them "did you get all the yells out? do you feel better?" if they say yes then congratulate them for their good screaming and tell them that they can do it again at the next yell session, but only if they are quiet until then. if they say no, let them have another really long, good yell. and then tell them that they can get some more yells out later, and that you understand that they are frustrated and that screaming feels good.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofplenty View Post

Thank you ladies.

Unfortunately, hiring anyone for help or sending anyone off to daycare isn't possible. A few days after the baby was born, our only vehicle broke down and dh had the week off, unpaid. We are so far behind. :(

DH is possibly working overtime tomorrow, but he will have 2 days off for the weekend. I'm hoping he can help me implement some new discipline techniques and us trying to put away some of their toys. We are looking into a new baby gate, as the one we have can be undone by all but the baby and climbed over by everyone. We're thinking maybe installing a full door--with a split top so they dont feel shut out but I can still keep them where they need to be.

thank you ladies. If anyone has any more ideas, post them! I will be sitting hubby down tomorrow to make a plan of action :)
Do you have any preschools through your school district? Or income based ones? Might be something to look into.

I think the spilt door sounds like a good idea. You need at least one room that is totally kid proofed. Good luck Mama! Try looking up some bloggers that do homedaycare. You might be able to get some good ideas on good routines, how ot organize space, etc.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofplenty View Post

Thank you ladies.

Unfortunately, hiring anyone for help or sending anyone off to daycare isn't possible. A few days after the baby was born, our only vehicle broke down and dh had the week off, unpaid. We are so far behind. :(

Relatives... I think my family is scared. I only have my sisters and parents here, no one else. I have had a friend or 2 offer to come by and visit but they are wanting to come by and "chat" and all that...its just too much to think of, entertaining anyone or even just talking to someone while the kids go nuts.

DH is possibly working overtime tomorrow, but he will have 2 days off for the weekend. I'm hoping he can help me implement some new discipline techniques and us trying to put away some of their toys. We are looking into a new baby gate, as the one we have can be undone by all but the baby and climbed over by everyone. We're thinking maybe installing a full door--with a split top so they dont feel shut out but I can still keep them where they need to be.

thank you ladies. If anyone has any more ideas, post them! I will be sitting hubby down tomorrow to make a plan of action :)
There still may be ways for your family/friends to help without being super overwhelmed - could anyone take your kids one or two at a time to a playground or something? Or bring you a meal once a week? Or take your laundry and wash it? Bring over a batch of playdough to play with outside on a plastic tablecloth? anything to give you some time and space to manage things. As for hiring someone - maybe you could find some teens who would volunteer to get experience. I would have! I'm not sure how to find someone, but I did things like that through my school leadership class, and girl guides... you could also get ahold of someone who teaches a babysitting course and they could ask the next class they do. If you go to LLL or any mom groups you could also ask there if they know of anyone.

I would try my hardest to get sleeping, nap and meal schedules as steady as possible, because that will lead to everything else going more smoothly. I know you can't force anyone to nap, but 'quiet time' might be possible. As for the clothes in the closet and stuff like that, can you get something to lock the closet doors? Some babyproofing type stuff might really help, the new babygate sounds like a good plan!

I only have three kids but one is a week old and dh is back at work so I can somewhat relate... I hope the weekend goes well with your dh home to help.
 

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Hugs to you. Sounds really overwhelming. I have two kids (4 and 6), and when they were younger I felt like you do sometimes! But five kids, all 7 and under sounds very very challenging!! With a newborn too? You need some help. Ladies from church or whatever, moms' group volunteers, local 13 year old who wants some babysitting experience. Just having a 2-week-old is enough of an "excuse" to get some help in there. :)

Beyond that, the scene you describe sounds like the kids could be bored and don't know what to do with their energy (which they seem to have a lot of!) and creativity.

Can you set up your play area like a preschool? It would take some help from your dh or someone else, while most of the kids are sleeping probably.) Like have two or three tables, each with one activity set up on it. And a book area in the corner with a good selection from the library to stock it. A dress-up area (with lots of hangers!!!) and a mirror. Stuff like that. A desk with Yes & Know activity books (with the invisible ink pen!) or Magnadoodles for writing and drawing. Like pp's said, put more stuff away, extra games and toys truly out of sight and out of reach. A new thing for them to find and do each day. And can you try replacing some TV with listening to music? And, as others said, maybe more run-around time is necessary. Fenced-in playground nearby? Music and dancing time together? Obstacle course? Just brainstorming here. Hope something in it is something you could use!
 

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Bless your heart, OP! Are you anywhere near me (I'm in N. Texas)? I'd come help in a heartbeat!

I think there were so many wonderful suggestions here, but mamadiamond's were esp. fantastic. I wholeheartedly second and third the earplugs and locking door for your dh. And locks for the closets of some sort. Kids that age love love love contests like the jumping jacks! I too think they sound really bored and thrown for a loop w/the new baby and all. Do you babywear? That's the only way I can think of to make sure Baby is safe while you discipline and play w/the other kids. I like the suggestions of having most toys locked away and only a few out. Seriously, if they cannot respect the toys, they shouldn't have so many available at once. Do you have a little baby pool? That can be a great way to have fun on the porch. Sprinklers?

Good luck, OP, and please let us know how you are doing.
 
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