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<p>Please don't reem me for this, but, I have discovered only 1 thing that works with my 2 middle boys...screaming. I would like better options, but feel like I have tried everything else.</p>
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<p>Basically, the 2 middle boys are like tsunamis in our home. They tear out all the art supplies and then leave them where ever they land. They take paper by handfuls, then barely mark on many of the pages and leave most of them on the floor. They go in to the kitchen and help themselves to stuff and leave everything out. I feel like I have to give up breastfeeding so that I can follow these two around constantly. Stopping to nurse the baby generally means a good hour of cleaning after each time. We cannot even decorate for Christmas because of all the cleaning that I have to do after them. I have the cupboards in the living room completely cleaned so that I could set up the nativity set. Instead, before it could get set up, the boys did art there and got paint all over. Someone also wrote on the cabinet part of the fireplace. Someone also tried to roast marsh mellows by holding marshmellows to the fireplace screen so that had to be scrubbed. This morning, I am facing juice all over my hardwood floors. They pulled down the homemade crystals and played with them and spilled them. They have left several books and magazines around the floor and furniture.</p>
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<p>Before you think this sounds like months and months of no supervision, this all actually can happen within the time it takes to bathe the baby, clean him off and diaper him and then nurse him. </p>
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<p>Plus, they both refuse to do any school work at all. They are both home schooling this year. My 6 yr old is prone to big tantrums. </p>
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<p>So a couple weeks ago, I tried something new. After begging and pleading with them to pick up their own messes (and I do it right, I will say pick up these cards, and then try to help them even, but they refuse, so it is not like I just say to clean everything, I break it down in to very small jobs and I have even offered to help).  So I was facing a trashed home again and not able to keep up. My days were going to the effect of nurse baby, beg and plead with kids to do something, anything. Go back and change a diaper, come back to partying running amouk kids and beg and plead them to stop. Then beg and plead them to please please please just pick up their pencils off the floor, the baby is picking those up and trying to walk around with them so that is not safe. Plus, since they have managed to lose about 24 or more pencils this year, I often have to go in to my stash of stocked up school supplies to give them new pencils. I think that is insane. They have a table just for school work, yet, they do something with their pencils and will not tell me what. They claim they have no idea where the pencils are. But I have been through 2 boxes of pencils and only have a handful of them left. That is in addition to all the pencils we started the school year with. </p>
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<p>Back to what I tried. I finally decided to try screaming. I just screamed "pick this up, NOW!!!!" and the children both dropped what they were doing and came running and picked it up! Then I walked to the next thing and screamed again "pick this up, NOW!" Continue on until they had picked up all that needed to be picked up. </p>
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<p>Oh, another thing they keep doing is pulling chairs up to places and climbing to get to things that are out of their reach. Then they just dump the stuff. They have destroyed so many things. I just had to throw away all our chapstick because they climbed to where they were kept and took the lids off each one for some reason. I guess they must have been trying them all out, but there are no lids now. Plus, because they are all gummy, I have to clean the place they had been kept to try to get the gunk out of it. </p>
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<p>My husband wants to spank. I feel there must be other ways to curtail this. I don't even want to scream anymore. Did I mention the part where when they were supposed to be in the bathroom brushing their teeth, they took everything liquid they could find and dumped them in to all the drinking cups to make special potions or something? This included a vial of saline solution that was supposed to be used to mix a medication. They could not get it open (it is rubber on top for a needle to be stuck in there for mixing) so they broke it to get it open. At that point, they were caught and sent out of the room. I had to unlatch the baby and let him lay on the bed screaming while I cleaned up the glass. Thank God the medication had already been used or I would have been in deep trouble, on a Sunday, unable to replace the saline solution for the injection. </p>
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<p>My husband says we should install locks on all cupboards and closets. And spank them when they do this stuff. I don't want to spank. But I don't want to yell either. I feel like there is nothing I can do here. We already cannot decorate for Christmas because by the time I do the cleaning each day, I am out of energy for getting out decorations. We were supposed to have a little decorating party over a week ago, but all I do is clean clean clean. Yet, my house is still a mess. I have been cleaning for 3 hrs today so far. I stopped to make this post. I will take a shower and no doubt come out to a re-trashed house. Then I will face hours of cleaning again. I don't want to wean the baby just so that I can toss him food and ignore him while I follow around the middle boys cleaning up after them. I think they are far too old for this out of control behavior. </p>
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<p>Any kind suggestions? Please don't trash on me for this. I would really just like helpful suggestions.</p>
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<p>Yikes- sounds like you have some pretty out of control kids who have had very little limits and virtually no consequences to their actions.</p>
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<p>Fist all the screaming is working now because of the shock factor. Eventually that will stop working too.</p>
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<p>Spanking would be the same thing.  It might "work" (I hate to even type that) but again it will lose it effectiveness and you will have done irreparable damage.</p>
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<p>First of all I think you and your husband need to have a LONG talk and decide what is important to you.  You need to be on the page from a discipline/parenting POV.  You won't be able to get things under control unless you are consistent.  Basically you need some family rules/guidelines and have consequences. You can have different approaches but the message needs to be the same. Any chance someone can watch the kids so you can have some time alone to talk??</p>
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<p>Then you need to meet with the kids and talk about what you and your husband agreed to.  Have a family meeting, ask for their help, ideally get their buy in and make them part of the solution but ultimately you need to send a clear message and the FOLLOW THRU.</p>
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<p>I also think you and your husband need to figure out how to limit unsupervised time. Yeah it will suck for a while but I would not leave them in the bathroom alone, the kitchen alone, etc. Thats the consequence for their actions. I also see nothing wrong with locking things up (like the medications, chap sticks etc)</p>
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<p>Question- do you hold them responsible for the havoc they are wreaking?  Meaning- are they the ones cleaning up the kitchen, picking up/putting away what they dumped out, cleaning up the chap stick? Or are you doing it all? </p>
 

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Discussion Starter #3
<p>I have tried time outs, taking away things, taking away priviledges, none of it has worked. Since I cannot get them to just do what I say, they absolutely will not clean up their own messes. So the juice on the floor, I asked him several times to wash up the juice. I handed him a damp cloth and told him to clean it up. I pointed to the spot and said right here, clean this spot. He just started in on his tantrum. Then I screamed "clean it up NOW!!!" and he stopped his tantrum and started washing. Since they have already lost all computer games, and have done repeat times on time out, and so on, we have postponed all holiday activities we usually do, because they cannot behave well enough for one day....there just seems to be nothing left to hold out for them.</p>
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<p>Since it does seem to be the 2 ganging up on us, I have been considering separating their bedrooms. But that means putting the 9 yr old in with the 16 yr old, which the 16 yr old is quite unhappy about. I am not sure that this will make much difference. But we are 3 weeks from Christmas and we have not done the few things that we all used to love to do at Christmas. We have not even put up lights yet, nothing. We cannot go see the holiday train exhibit, we cannot go on the train ride, we cannot even go to the ice display. We have not gone for a ride to see the lights, nothing.</p>
 

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<p>Yes but how long did you "try" those things? Consistency is the key.  Trying something for a few weeks is not going to work.</p>
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<p>It doe sound like your approach is all negative.  Have you read any Alphie Cohan-playful parenting? Have you tried catching them doing something "right" and rewarding that behavior?</p>
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<p>I am going to say this is gently as I can......</p>
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<p>How much time, real time, mindful time, do you spend with them?  Both one on one and as family. Sometimes any attention is better than no attention. You have infant and that can be all consuming.  These kids know that they have your full attention when they have misbehave, when they act out, when they have tantrum. So acing out equals mom pays attention to me and then it just spirals from there. Can you and you husband rotate the kids so that each of you get some one on one time?  Can you plan some family game nights?  Turn off the computers and the phone.  Just focus on the family?</p>
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<p>Is Christmas important to them, do they like the train, the ice display?  Why not shock them and and say "You know what guys? Life is short.  The heck with the house, grab your coats and lets go check out the ice display!  Then when we get home I'll make hot chocolate and we can all tackle the house together" At this point what do you have to lose?</p>
 
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<p>It does sound like locking things up might be a good start. They are telling you that they can't handle free access to things. I wonder if your husband would be willing to take a weekend, maybe even hire a mother's helper/sitter to keep an eye on the kids so that the two of you can middle-boy-proof the entire house. I personally would probably throw a whole lot of stuff out too -- I know it's helped immensely around here!</p>
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<p>Limiting their range while you're taking care of your needs and nursing the baby might be useful too. I'm not sure what that might look like because I don't know your house, but in my old house, for example, it might have meant confining them to the playroom or their rooms for periods of time.</p>
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<p>I think that that kind of chaotic behavior sometimes results from lack of structure. And boredom. And a need for more active and/or outdoor time. You can't really address the boredom while you're reacting to mess after mess after mess! Being proactive about preventing it in the first place is going to be most effective, I think.</p>
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<p>One problem with screaming is that it has diminishing returns. Once you start screaming, no one feels the need to listen until you scream. And then they become immune to it.</p>
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<p>I offer all of this admittedly scattered ideas with no intention of criticizing, and I hope it doesn't sound like I'm making assuptions about your particular situation -- just mean to be offering general ideas. I have so btdt and have given up my ideals in some ways and resorted to doing things that work but that would seem punitive and unfair by MDC standards. I wasn't doing my children any favors by letting them trash the house and run over me. I am human and they were getting an angry, resentful mom. So I started confining their stuff to their rooms rather than letting it take over the entire house, started confining them to their rooms at times when I just plain needed a break or when they seemed to need a break from each other, and we got rid of tons and tons of stuff. (wow -- my 10yo boy just brought out an armload of craft clutter from his room and said, "I'm making a lot of tough calls here!") By being loosey-goosey, I thought I was letting us be free, when I was actually trapping us in chaos and clutter :-(</p>
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<p>(((Hugs))) to you. It is not fun to spend all of your time cleaning up messes that shouldn't have happened in the first place. I hope that you'll be able to find some solutions that bring you all peace and that your husband will help you. I do believe that you can get on top of this without spanking and yelling! And kudos to you for recognizing that something needs to change.</p>
 

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<p><br>
You could ban juice for the time being. I hate sticky stuff on the floor more than anything!</p>
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<p>Honestly, I might at this point resort to throwing out anything that they refuse to clean up. I have many times piled things in boxes and put them in some part of the house with the understanding that they can get them out if they take the time to put the entire contents of the box away. They rarely miss the stuff and after a year, I dump the box.</p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Lisa1970</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283485/screaming-is-all-that-works#post_16092793"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I have tried time outs, taking away things, taking away priviledges, none of it has worked. Since I cannot get them to just do what I say, they absolutely will not clean up their own messes. So the juice on the floor, I asked him several times to wash up the juice. I handed him a damp cloth and told him to clean it up. I pointed to the spot and said right here, clean this spot. He just started in on his tantrum. Then I screamed "clean it up NOW!!!" and he stopped his tantrum and started washing. Since they have already lost all computer games, and have done repeat times on time out, and so on, we have postponed all holiday activities we usually do, because they cannot behave well enough for one day....there just seems to be nothing left to hold out for them.</p>
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<p>Since it does seem to be the 2 ganging up on us, I have been considering separating their bedrooms. But that means putting the 9 yr old in with the 16 yr old, which the 16 yr old is quite unhappy about. I am not sure that this will make much difference. But we are 3 weeks from Christmas and we have not done the few things that we all used to love to do at Christmas. We have not even put up lights yet, nothing. We cannot go see the holiday train exhibit, we cannot go on the train ride, we cannot even go to the ice display. We have not gone for a ride to see the lights, nothing.</p>
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<p>Truthfully, a lot of this sounds normal, but then my oldest is only four.  I would lock up the all art supplies and the medicines and the toys with small pieces for now, and also the whole kitchen if I could. I have a rule that children don't get to play computer games while I'm cleaning--it's not fair to me for them to play while I'm cleaning up their messes.  My children are still small, and if they make a Terrible Mess, they either have to help clean it up, or sit in the high chair while I clean it.  They only get juice under close supervision in the kitchen.  If your boys are going to run amok like toddlers, maybe their privileges need to be scaled back to toddler-level.</p>
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<p>Begging and pleading doesn't work.  Presenting a choice of desired behavior vs. an unattractive consequence with pressure to Choose Wisely works, at least sometimes.</p>
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<p>Boundaries, by Cloud and Townsend, is a Christian book that is very good and addresses limit-setting.  They also have a spin-off book called Boundaries and Children (or maybe it's Boundaries and Kids).  The main idea is that if you are angry, it is because your boundaries are being violated, and so you need to set (reasonable) limits, with clearly stated consequences that will transfer the pain of transgression back to the transgressor.  I highly recommend it.</p>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
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<div>I wonder if your husband would be willing to take a weekend, maybe even hire a mother's helper/sitter to keep an eye on the kids so that the two of you can middle-boy-proof the entire house. I personally would probably throw a whole lot of stuff out too -- I know it's helped immensely around here!</div>
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<p> I think this is a great idea!  It would also be a great way to kick off the new "house rules"-</p>
<ul><li>no food/drinks away from the table</li>
<li>toys stay in toy area</li>
<li>art supplies etc locked up or must ask permission</li>
<li>new medicine chest in bathroom that locks is off limits</li>
<li>a new chore chart so each child has a rotating job (setting the table, emptying dishwasher, clearing the table, emptying wastebaskets, etc)</li>
<li>You make the mess, you pick it up</li>
</ul><p> </p>
 

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<p>Do you always feel like your kids are out of control? Or just right at this minute? Some of the stuff sounds pretty normal to me, I'm not sure how old the kids in question are but you did say one was 6. I have an almost 6yo and a just turned 4yo. If left to themselves for a while I could see them doing some of those things. On their own, not so much, at least not my 6yo but together they do tend to get into more trouble. Now my oldest two are generally more responsible so they get into less trouble, but sometimes even they will do something I can't even comprehend to amuse themselves. Generally, though, I can leave my children mostly unsupervised IF it is not JUST my 5yo and 4yo or JUST my 4yo and 2yo. What are the consequences for not cleaning up their messes? For my kids, if it is something in particular (like art supplies) they do not get to get them out again for however long, generally a week. If it is just general mess, they can't come to bed (we all go at the same time and after brushing teeth I read to them) until they are done. So if they don't get their assigned area cleaned up by the time we go to bed (same time every night with plenty of warning) they have to stay out until it's done. This very rarely happens, especially since I generally pop a few cookies in the oven when they start cleaning and they each get one when they're done, that's a great motivator and everyone is usually done by the time the cookies are done so it's cut down the amount of time they spend on their jobs at night. In my experience, taking away random things doesn't work, at least not with kids as young as mine. They just don't seem to see the connection.</p>
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<p>It seems like a big problem is them being left unsupervised. I'm not saying you shouldn't be able to leave them in one room while you're in another but it doesn't seem to be working right now. I'm sure you can find a way to keep them near you most of the time. How old is the baby? Can't you nurse him in the same room as your other kids? Bathe him in the kitchen sink while the boys are doing an art project in the same room? Change the baby on the living room floor while they're playing in there? Maybe there are reasons that you have to be in a separate room for these things but I would think for most it would be possible to keep a close eye on them if necessary.</p>
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<p><span><img alt="hug.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/hug.gif"></span></p>
 

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<div class="quote-block">How much time, real time, mindful time, do you spend with them?  Both one on one and as family. Sometimes any attention is better than no attention. You have infant and that can be all consuming.  These kids know that they have your full attention when they have misbehave, when they act out, when they have tantrum. So acing out equals mom pays attention to me and then it just spirals from there. Can you and you husband rotate the kids so that each of you get some one on one time?  Can you plan some family game nights?  Turn off the computers and the phone.  Just focus on the family?</div>
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<br><br><p>Oh, yes. This is important. My 4yo needs lots and lots of love and attention. If he doesn't get it he turns into a different child. He pushes my limits like nobody else. Does things to his siblings for absolutely no reason, sneaks around making messes and then smiles and laughs when approached about it. It was infuriating and I just didn't understand it. And it was very, very difficult to break out of that cycle because who wants to go snuggle and chat with the boy who just pushed his 2yo sister off of the couch just for the fun of it? I really thought there was something terribly wrong with him and he was going to end up being a serial killer or something but I realized that I was just really, really busy and needed to love him more. He still gets like that sometimes but now I can see it for what it is and I treat it very differently.</p>
 

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<p>I would also evaluate what they eat, particularly for breakfast.  My older dd is a completely different child if she doesn't start the day with a protein-rich breakfast and get snacks with protein during the day.</p>
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<p>I would definitely lock stuff up at this point to save your sanity.</p>
 

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<p>I agree, screaming has good shock value now, but it will wear off.  If that remains your only way of dealing with this, they'll eventually tune you out.</p>
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<p>I agree with what the others have said.  It sounds like for whatever reason, your children are not old enough or mature enough to deal with a lot of stuff being available for them to tornado through.  Whether that's lack of discipline or development issues, or something else isn't really the issue.  What you need to look at now is how you are going to respond to this going forward.</p>
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<p>I agree with starting by making things inaccessible for them right now.  That might mean living a pretty in a house that's fairly spartan (no breakable decor, no enticing things on the mantle, etc), without a lot of stuff floating around that they can get their hands on.  You might find a big, locking cupboard helpful.  Everything except for a few sturdy toys can be put in the cupboard.  If they want to play, or do art, you get out *only* that one item or project, and relock the cupboard.  The condition for getting anything else out of the cupboard is that they do not strew their current game all over, and that they help tidy it up.  Then and only then can they have the privelage of playing with something else in the cupboard.</p>
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<p>For food, limit messy stuff (like juice or crackers) to when you can be watching them.  If they're hungry or thirsty, you can make plain water available to them, and maybe something like carrot sticks which is pretty non-messy.</p>
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<p>And honestly, if my children were doing these things, I would be finding reasons to not be in the same room with them, and you may be doing that even subconciously, but this is the time when you need to be right on top of them, applying the rules, giving consequences, making sure that you're doing this consistently.  I know it's hard, with a  baby.  But it can be done, and if this isn't dealt with now, there is a possibility for it to get much worse.  Teaching children these things is not something any of us get figured out in a few weeks, so this is not going to be a quick fix.  This is going to be a long process of you maintaining absolutely consistent boundaries, absolutely consistent discipline (whatever method you choose), and it's going to be hard work for you.</p>
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Discussion Starter #13
<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>HollyBearsMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283485/screaming-is-all-that-works#post_16092859"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p> </p>
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<div>I wonder if your husband would be willing to take a weekend, maybe even hire a mother's helper/sitter to keep an eye on the kids so that the two of you can middle-boy-proof the entire house. I personally would probably throw a whole lot of stuff out too -- I know it's helped immensely around here!</div>
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<p> I think this is a great idea!  It would also be a great way to kick off the new "house rules"-</p>
<ul><li>no food/drinks away from the table</li>
<li>toys stay in toy area</li>
<li>art supplies etc locked up or must ask permission</li>
<li>new medicine chest in bathroom that locks is off limits</li>
<li>a new chore chart so each child has a rotating job (setting the table, emptying dishwasher, clearing the table, emptying wastebaskets, etc)</li>
<li>You make the mess, you pick it up</li>
</ul><p> </p>
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<p><br>
We had a family meeting and set down these rules. There has never been eating allowed outside of the kitchen, and that includes drinking. They were cut off from all paper without prior permission. They are also not supposed to get out art supplies without asking, except for the ones on the eisel which includes chalk, dry erase markers, and some of those dot markers. Those are expected to stay at the eisel, which they generally do. </p>
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<p>The stuff they mixed up the other day in my drinking cups were soaps, shampoos, bubble bath, ...the saline solution was the only medicine type thing they got in to. Everything medicinal has child proof tops on them and they have never been able to get through them. Medicines are generally kept in a cupboard that is pretty high up, above the toilet, where they cannot reach nor can they bring a chair to climb to. So they generally cannot get to medicine, but they can still reach the soaps and shampoos in the shower and by the sinks and tubs. The vial with saline solution simply had been left out from mixing that earlier. I did not expect them to go in there and break it to get it open. </p>
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<p>I spend a lot of time with them. The constant defiance prevents us from being able to do much. Just yesterday, we baked a cake together and then we walked it to a neighbors house to share with her. Yet, when we got home, the juice that they got in to, it was the little baby juice. It was not even juice for them. They had gotten in trouble for that before and told to never take the baby juice again. They have their own regular juice and it is meant to be kept in the kitchen. </p>
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<p>The discipline is not just a few weeks and I am ready to give up. This has actually gone on for a long time, since before the baby was born, and he just turned 15 months old. I am just to the point where I feel like keeping plugging away and trying to keep on everything is not working.</p>
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<p>You know how Nanny 911 makes a schedule and posts it and it has to be kept to? I wonder if that would help too. </p>
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<p>I should add, DH and I are not on the same page on this. He grew up with no chores and we had to fight tooth and nail to instill chores in the kids. I mean, he was adament that kids have no chores. I made the kids have chores anyway, but if dh were home, he would interfere. Eventually, he came around. But then there are other things. His parents never ever spent time with him and he was not really allowed toys. He was expected to just play outside ALL the time. When computers/game systems were invented (yes, we are both 40, so we did not have this stuff when we were little) his parents just bought him all that. So he is clueless on the concept that they have toys. He says we should just rid of all toys and let them play computer all the time or make them play outside. I think computer play is awful and we live in Texas. The weather is often just not even really safe to spend much time in. I mean over 100 degrees in the summer and during the fall and spring, we get a lot of big storms. It is not like where we grew up in the midwest where it was 70's all summer long and we would be outside constantly. Then in the winter, we could at least sled or build forts or such. So I think it is horrible to tell kids when it is 110 degrees out that they have to just go outside and stay for hours. Plus, DH and I grew up in small areas and we live in a major metropolitan area so I do not feel safe with them outside anywhere but the backyard without constant supervision. This means, I cannot spend 12 hrs a day outside watching them. When I grew up, I would explore everywhere. It was the country. It you ran in to another being out there, it was more likely a cow than an adult. (which by the way, I knew better than to go in to a pasture, I just mean I could see them, not that this is important or anything).</p>
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<p>But the point is, I do spend a lot of time with them. But turning my back for even 10 minutes seems to result in something. Oh yeah, I was making dinner last night and stopped to go to the bathroom. I left the room for 2 minutes...3? I don't know...I was quick. But I came back to find that they got out 2 cans of soup and opened them. I went ahead and started putting up what I was making for dinner and told them they had to eat the soup then. Of course, the younger on changed his mind and broke out screaming that I was starving him by telling him he had to eat the chicken noodle soup he opened instead of the rice type dinner I was making. He knows it is against the rule to just make himself something. He especially knows not to try it when I am making dinner for everyone. But I left the room to use the bathroom. I feel like I cannot even go to the bathroom. Most days, I just do not even eat until the kids go to bed. But, I was so exhausted last night by the time I got them to bed that I went to bed without eating yesterday then woke up in the middle of the night nauseated from hunger.</p>
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<p>One other idea I had, but was afraid it might be too extreme, is "tomato staking." I heard about it years ago. It is where the kids must stay in your vision basically, for a while, so you can correct them immediately when they do something, instead of finding it later. This would mean bringing them in the bedroom with me when I am putting the baby down, or taking them to the bathroom with me when I shower and go to the bathroom. If I am cooking, making them sit on chairs in the kitchen waiting until I am done, or helping of course. But the point is, they cannot go elsewhere, unless I can go elsewhere. They must be every place I am for a while.</p>
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<p>My dh is not in on trying to get things in order with me. He says he just wants to spank and be done with it. I don't want to. So I am alone in trying to correct these problems.</p>
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<p>First off, you have my sympathy! That sounds INCREDIBLY draining.</p>
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<div>One problem with screaming is that it has diminishing returns. Once you start screaming, no one feels the need to listen until you scream. And then they become immune to it.</div>
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<p>Sadly true. Ask me how I know. You don't want them to think that if you're not screaming, you're <em>not</em> serious, because when you really mean it you scream - you know?</p>
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<p>Not that I can talk. Screaming does "work" to an extent, and I do it more than I should. But it's a fairly unpleasant environment for <em>me</em> to be in, let alone what DD and DH must think of it!</p>
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<div>I would also evaluate what they eat, particularly for breakfast.  My older dd is a completely different child if she doesn't start the day with a protein-rich breakfast and get snacks with protein during the day.</div>
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<p>There might even be more to it than that - do they have sensitivities to food colouring, sugar, gluten, whatever? Their behavior sounds kind of ADHD-ish, and I know that's linked to diet. They don't take fish oil capsules, by any chance? Or what about sleep - are they getting enough of it? 6 years old isn't too old for a nap, in my opinion - if you can get him to take one. Looking at physical causes of behavior sometimes feels like "cheating" - like they should be good because of their firm moral fibre, regardless of what they've had for breakfast - but it just doesn't work that way. Even with adults. :p So if you can find a way to "painlessly" decrease behaviors by cutting out certain foods or giving them Epsom salt baths or whatever, GO FOR IT!</p>
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<p>One other practical note: can your baby nurse in a sling? That way you could at least keep the boys in sight while she fed. Or maybe you could say "OK, I can't trust you to be out of my sight, so when I nurse the baby you need to stay in this room with me and do XYZ". And then shut the door so they have to obey. :p Might not work if you're trying to nurse the baby to sleep, though...</p>
 

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<p>I don't think tomato staking in too extreme and had thought to suggest it. Actually, as you were talking about making dinner, I had a picture in my mind of boys sitting at the table drawing or reading while you cook :)</p>
 

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<p>Wait, so your dh's solution to you not having to interrupt nursing to chase after the boys is that you should chase after them and hit them? <span><img alt="banghead.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/banghead.gif"></span></p>
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<p><span>Maybe you could find a really interesting series of books to read to them, and you only bring the books out when the baby's nursing?</span></p>
 

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<div><span><img alt="hug2.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/hug2.gif"></span></div>
 

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<p>2 things:</p>
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<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:2px;padding-left:0px;">One other idea I had, but was afraid it might be too extreme, is "tomato staking." I heard about it years ago. It is where the kids must stay in your vision basically, for a while, so you can correct them immediately when they do something, instead of finding it later. This would mean bringing them in the bedroom with me when I am putting the baby down, or taking them to the bathroom with me when I shower and go to the bathroom. If I am cooking, making them sit on chairs in the kitchen waiting until I am done, or helping of course. But the point is, they cannot go elsewhere, unless I can go elsewhere. They must be every place I am for a while.</p>
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<ol><li>I do not think this is extreme based on what you have explained so far. This is a logical consequence to misbehaving in your absence. It is also a great way to "catch them doing something right". Focus on the positive. However I think you could mix it up. In the kitchen they can help with small things-hand you the spoon, pass you the salt, get the milk etc. When bathing the baby they can hand you the towels, pass you the soap.</li>
<li>You should consider professional advice. Maybe a family therapist or a marriage councilor.  Are you religious-maybe your rabbi or pastor? A neutral party that can help you and husband talk thru your differences and learn how to work together as a team. Spanking is not the answer and something tells me he knows that otherwise he would have done it already. You guys need some help and that might mean getting some professional advice.</li>
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<p><span><img alt="hug.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/hug.gif"></span></p>
 

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<p>I would get rid of or store away any toys that have several small parts. I ended up doing this with the small Legos we used to have and a few other toys. My kids weren't actually playing with them but I would find them dumped out all the time, so I got rid of them.</p>
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<p>I would install locks on all of the cabinets, and only allow access to things like art supplies if they ask for them. Dole out only a few pieces of paper at a time. If they want more, but the other papers are on the floor, say no until the previous papers are picked up.</p>
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<p>If you don't want them in certain rooms you might consider door safety devices like these:<span style="display:none;"> </span></p>
<p><a href="http://www.kidsafeinc.com/c=NuA6gXQSDdeXpSb0dPO9G9fpy/category/child_door_safety/" target="_blank">http://www.kidsafeinc.com/c=NuA6gXQSDdeXpSb0dPO9G9fpy/category/child_door_safety/</a><span style="display:none;"> </span></p>
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<p>There are also lots of other childproofing items on that site that could give you ideas.</p>
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<p>If they make a mess and refuse to clean it up, put the broom/rag/whatever in their hand and guide them over to it. Help them make them motions with their hands to clean it up.</p>
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<p>If they are getting stuff out of the fridge to spill, you could get a fridge lock. Or if it's just certain things like juice, don't buy juice. If they complain about drinking water, just tell them that juice seems to get spilled a lot and it makes a sticky mess.Tell them when they are careful enough not to spill their drinks anymore you will buy more juice. </p>
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<p>I would also lock up shampoo, soap, and razors in a cabinet in the bathroom. I know it will be more of a pain getting them out everytime you shower, but it would probably work better than having to go open the door for them everytime they have to go to the bathroom because you put a childproof lock on the bathroom door.</p>
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<p>This may sound extreme, but is there a pantry or closet you could lock the chairs in when they aren't in use? That way they aren't using them to climb to get things.</p>
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<p>Since you homeschool and have a baby (been there, done that. It's hard!) do they get any outlet for their energy during the day? Can they run in the yard or can you take them to play at a park when the weather is nice?</p>
 

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<p>Although the originator of the "tomato staking" term is not much like here because of the spanking thing, the idea behind that term is that your kids are *by your side* 24/7 for as long as it takes for them to either mature past this stage or decide a little freedom is worth behaving better.  You can do that without spanking (or screaming), and I do not think it is extreme, given the extremity of your children's behavior at the moment. </p>
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<p>Since you know that even 2-3 minutes results in this stuff, you really do need to get rid of stuff or lock it away very securely. Start by shutting them down completely, and then you can gradually increase their freedom/remove locks as they begin to demonstrate the ability to control impulses and/or follow your directions.</p>
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<p>How much outdoor time do they get?  I see someone else mentioned that.  My children's behavior is directly related to the outdoor time and exercise they get. So that means if they're wild, it doesn't matter if it's snowing outside, they get bundled out and sent to the backyard.  If they don't want to play, they can choose to run laps in the yard and be done.</p>
 
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