I am a young mother of three, I had my first child when I was 18, my second at 19 and my third at 30. Firstly, I was brought up in a large dutch reformed family. My father was extremely strict, but plain old mean! I wasnt spanked but beaten. When I had my children I vowed never to lay a hand on them and I am pretty passive and easy going. I seperated from my first 2 childrens' father when they were about 3 and 4. I believed in my heart I did a spectacular job and raised 2 bright children. The last 2 years have been HORRIBLE with my boy; fighting with his sister(although, she does instigate alot)screaming at me, not doing what is asked etc. I ask for help and I get " I didn't make the mess, Get J to do it" I cant get him in bed at a decent time. He has no respect for the things in my home or his belongings! I get told I am selfish, and if you knew me, you'd know I go without so that my children have Everything, and I mean everything! He is extremely disrespectful to my new bo, has called him names etc. He does apologize and looks sincere but still continues this horrible behavior.
I have a hard time with discipline, and usually give in alot sooner that what I have said. I feel as though I have failed! I raised a well mannered boy, Where did he go? What do I do to get him back on track. I find myself crying more and more each day! My mornings are horrible! I wake up my bo (who has sleep apnea and is terrible to wake) I then go from B's room to J's room for about an hour trying to get them up and moving. Then the screaming, yelling and fighting starts! By 9 o'clock I am in tears, if not before then. My daughter is not innocent either! My son has missed an incredible amount of school. He fakes sick, or just refuses to go. He will pull a fit and get himself crying(he knows it makes me feel bad)and then says you never believe me, you don't care about me, only J. I try to explain to him that this behavior has to stop immediatley, and how its hurting the family and himself. Its just nothing seems to sink in with him. However, He will apologize only to do it again within minutes.
" have a hard time with discipline, and usually give in alot sooner that what I have said. I feel as though I have failed!"
That's the issue right there...
You discipline to modify his behaviour, then feel guilty and sorry for him, so you end up give in... thus teaching him that he can do what he wants and will face no true punishment. That is a dangerous lesson if life. The other children will learn from this example as well.
You have to realize that NOT setting and sticking to boundries is what should really make you feel guilty.
Greek is right, it is not setting boundaries and keeping to them that is the main problem here. Boys especially, actually like having boundaries - that's what I learned when I read the book 'Raising boys' by Steve Biddolph?? (not sure of the second name).
My son is ten, I suspect yours is older? But my son is so very stubborn and strong willed - he often does not want to do anything I ask unless it suits him (which is not often!) And he can argue till the cows come home, and rarely backs down....
Discipline, however, does not have to be mean (even if the child thinks it at the time). It should be fair and just, so think about what you say first as you MUST stick to it. All I do is take away things he likes (with a warning first, to give him a chance to correct his behaviour). Computer games is what I usually go for, as these are the things he likes best, but you could use money as well. I take his games away for two days, not too long as then a child can lose all hope and become even more defiant.
You should not beat yourself up that it is something to do with your parenting - I'm sure it's not, but simply his age! Children do press boundaries, it's their way of finding their way in the world.. Good luck!
You are absolutely correct! I was reading and thought the same thing. Children have to have consistency! If they find that you will give in if pushed hard enough they will test and break your boundaries all of the time. ALL OF THE TIME! Each time they will push you further and further. Stick to your guns, put your foot down, and do not give in! It will take time since they've been able to practice this behavior for a while, so don't give up, give it time and be consistent!
Hi Karen Ann
Just a couple of thoughts to what you have written. One of the things you write is that you have given your children "Everything and I mean everything..." My question is why? If you give your children everything what do they have to strive for. I would think about whether this contributes to some of their issues.
You son who has sleep apnoea. You say that he has problems waking up. Is it being treated? Does he have oxygen at night? I ask the questions because once it has been properly diagnosed and being treated, he shouldn't have difficulty waking up. If it is being treated and there are still problems return to your doctor.
You son making out he's sick. Has he got some sort of help like a counsellor? He certainly sounds as if he could do with some help and perhaps he needs an outlet away from you to talk about issues that are important to him.
The poor behaviour of all your children. I suggest you hold a family council. Set the rules for it. Ie everyone will have their opportunity to talk and no one can interrupt them. You need to start with a quick introduction to the point of it ie as a family you would like to live in a more peaceful household ... oh and by the way you tell them if anyone stops shouting and screaming you'll bring it to a halt. Get them to agree some simple household rules that they can all sign up to. This can be difficult to do - but if you feel up to it emotionally, I think you will find it helps. After the first two weeks hold another meeting and see how it is going.
As for you - who have you got to talk to? You need someone who is impartial who you can talk things through with. Just make sure it's someone positive.
Oh just one more suggestion in case you're not already doing it - make sure that each week you spend time with each of the kids alone.
maybe put them in therapy so they can talk about their feelings. I know it sounds lame but that stuff seriously works. If they are under eighteen then make them go and participate. If they are over 18 problem solved either they start respecting you or find a new place to live. You deserve respect as a mother no matter what. Nobody is perfect and we are never perfect raising our kids either all we can do is try our hardest. You really need to buckle down on the law of the house though. Any name calling deserves discipline, missing school gets discipline, either take the items out their rooms while they are gone and lock them up somewhere. They can get them back later. Don't give them a cell they will only trash text you to all their friends. And dont forget teens are just teens, a lot of it is just normal outbursts. My son is only 9 and he is getting more sensitive as his body changes and so does his opinions he tends to lash out at my comments more, out of embarrassment more than anything I suspect.
Hi Karen, I am touched by what you have written, a mother has to be in really bad state to reach out for help on her kids. I have a two year old daughter, much too little for any trouble. However, on thing I could like to suggest is it is very important to understand the unattainability of the ideal. As the only son to my parents, who married against their wishes, I understand that. This is one thing which caused a lot of heart burn in our relationship. They wanted me to be doing all things, be home in their city, still have a great job, bre respected for my work and still be able to take a lot of leaves to be with them, be spending on relatives and still save money to remain prosperous. I was torn down right from the middle before realizing that ideal is named thus because it is unattainable. OUr job in this life is to be happy, not to be great (while the former may lead to latter). I did what I thought was right, to the extent what was possible, and things have been little better, even if they are not, I am feeling much lighter. Don't try too hard, on yourself and your kids. Be tolerant, there could be cousins kids epitome of nobility, does not need your kids to be the same. Let them be, anything immoral or unethical has to be stopped with calm words. When your son is angry, don't revert with anger. Ask him does he not feel better when he is happy instead of angry. If the fight is over anything, try to make them early at this stage that end object is happiness, if forgiveness and kindness can get that easier than struggle and anger, why not do that. Furthermore, let him know that foul behavior is not acceptable. This ought to be done without anger, so he understands you are not asking him to refrain from something because you are angry, but because it is wrong. No explanation or reason (because you have to be good boy, because you are in my house or anything), will make it non-negotiable. And let it flow, in vedanta, most trouble in life are said to be because we expect and want entities around us to act in a particular manner. This needs some learning, summer is meant to be hot, to want it to be cold, is to pressurise oneself. Beauty of summer is heat and beauty of winter is cold. I understood, my parents have my best interest and love for me in heart. They do not understand the pressure I was feeling under their demands in each directions. I went to them, sat with them and told them I will try my best to not disappoint them, but I can not do anything beyond my capabilities. I want to be happy and can only work as much as what does not make me unhappy or stressed out, This is what I am and this is what they need to make do with. I still do go out of my way to do what they want me to do, but only if it makes me happy. And no, they did not understand a word I said, but they understood I meant what I said. I hope it helps some bit, try taking out some play time with your kids, or at least walks in the parks. It should be nice way to get closer, it becomes difficult to hurt people who grow close to you.
my kids are not this but i know a few they are disrespectful to ever one not just there parents they think they are grown but they are not my grandma always told me you can learn the easy way are the hard way some people just want to do it the hard way all i can tell you is let them they will realize one day they should have lisened i no i shure did all you can do if pray they com to ther senses before its to late most of them do
how do you think we can help. I am not being smart, but what do you need...... just someone to listen .....
Yes, really I need someone to just hear me out, give some constructive criticism and advice.
My kids were all kind of jealous of each other and they all tried every trick in the book to get my attention - very competitive with each other. I didn't find a way to deal with it until my daughter was upset and once again told me she thought I loved her brothers more - so I asked her, finally, what she thought I could do to show her I love her just as much - she stopped and thought, then said "hug me more" So I found out that, unlike my boys who push me away, my girl could take as many hugs as I could give! It helped, really.
Reaching out is fine and is sometimes the best way to learn.
I agree with you completely! I am trying harder to stick to the punishments assigned. I assure you its getting better. He has lost his t.v. and all gaming systems out of his room etc for close to a month and a half now. He has realized I haven't caved and really has just given up and shown no interest in it anymore. It's almost like it doesnt even fizz on him.
children know how to dominate parents..greek is right..you need to set line...
If you like the person that you are; then your mean old father gets some of the credit.
When you are a diffrent kind of parent than your parents was, you raise a diferent child than the one your parents did.
Sometimes this is a good thing... Sometimes it isn't
This sounds extremely similar to what I used to suffer with my 2 kids after my divorce. I hope this gives you some hope:
My son was introverted, shy, antisocial. He had undiagnosed social phobia at the time, but I didn't know it til later. He had few friends, never dated, played Nintendo constantly & was very insecure. My son would not get up in the morning. I tried it all: throwing cold water on him (he knocked a hole in the wall which I took money from his savings account to fix), yelling (only escalated), screaming (just made tempers flare), & threatening (he ignored it). Finally, one morning I got sick of it. So I said, "OK, if you don't get up this time, I'm not coming in to wake you again. If you are late or miss school, I'm not coming home from work to take you." He never got up, I went to work, he stayed home. Next day he gets up, dragging as usual. He needs a written excuse for the day before. I refused. He had to suffer the consequences for his inaction. He didn't do it again. It was bad, too. I hated to do it, but had to. Had to put the hammer down a year after he graduated high school, too. He went to college, but wouldn't get a part-time job. So finally, when summer came, he didn't want to work or go to school. I gave him an ultimatum plus requested that my Dad have a heart to heart talk with him. Either make a decision or get out. One week later, he went to the Navy recruiters office, on his own, found out about their Nuclear Power program (he was really really smart, just didn't give a crap) and signed up. From then, he worked part-time as a chauffer driver until he left for boot camp. Guess what? He passed the NNPTC school, went on to serve in Enduring Freedom as a Nuke, served 6 years in the Navy. After his term, he enrolled in college, graduated with a dual degree in Astronomy & Physics all the while fighting his inner demons (social phobia) during the time he also met & married his only real steady girlfriend, who is from another country. They are happily married, have a baby, & he finally found the career job of his dreams at age 31. So you see, there is light at the end of the tunnel
I told you all this to narrow it down to this point: You must speak to a professional (counselor, clergy, teacher) about these issues. You must either learn to change your reactions or learn better coping strategies for dealing with him. I promise it won't always feel this bad. If he has a male figure in his life, someone to look up to, somebody special....ask that person to have a heart to heart with the boy. But you must first change your reactions. It would help him NOW to get in counseling. If you cannot afford it, speak to school counselors or principles. Intervention must happen now. Good luck!
Listen, the best thing is for you to realize your role as father & mother. Let them know you have changed mood. Be a little bit rigid and more loving like you said. Read books on proper child training, meet elders and counsellors. Hardly take no for an answer. Spend more time with them and you will alright.
I'm a tough-loving mom, always have been.
If your son has missed a lot of school because he says he is sick, take him to the doctor for a full physical. Have your son tell the doctor all his symptoms. Your family physician is your first friend in helping him, he may be suffering from anger issues - the doctor will see that and help you move forward into counseling if that is what he needs. If there is nothing wrong with him - you have the doctor on your side & you can say - we went to the doctor and he said you are healthy!
My kids bicker, a lot. They are 5 years a part and both think they are always right - but they have to work it out in their own world, I don't get involved anymore. Now that my daughter is living on her own at college, I miss the bickering
As much as I dislike game systems, I learned how to play - its time I can spend with my son doing what he likes. I can't play soccer, I don't golf - so I learned how to use a controller.
My son has chores and he knows if they don't get done, he looses his phone & electronics. I have no problem disconnecting power cords & hiding them. Phone gets locked up in the safe (only had to do it once). The computer is password protected & I control the password.
Both my kids have a lot of freedom and we have excellent trusting relationships. I don't do petty issues, if my son wants longer hair - so what. If my daughter wants a tatoo - its her money, her body.
I'm not sure the age of your children, but they sound like elementary age. Start parenting before they turn into teenagers. You need to remember that you are the parent and not their friend. Also forget the parenting style your father did. You are not your father, you are your own person, and can parent in a new style from his. I'm a preschool teacher and a parent so I can understand your dilemma, but if I can give you a little bit of advice understand it comes from years of parenting, and teaching. I have this rule, I call it my three Fs. FIRM, FAIR, AND FUN.
FIRM, is when the rules that you set are plain and simple for a child to understand. They don't change from moment to moment, or day to day. They fit your child's age, not below or under their age. Remind them of the rule when the situation arises. Ask them if they forgot the rule and have them repeat it.
What ever you do don't give in, they will use this for their own advantage. Be slow to say NO it might actually be a YES to a 'mom can I do?' If you are not sure tell them that you will get back to them later.
FAIR, try to make chores and rules equal among your children if you can, there might be some age differences but everybody can contribute to the household. Unless they are a baby.
It is so important that they see and understand that you also have rules to abide by and chores to do. This will teach them respect for you. Keep restrictions to a short time, one to two days is plenty. If they don't make their bed and pick up their room, one day restriction, if they are to sick for school they are to sick to play after school.[my kids rarely missed school because of this rule] Be sure and praise them for their work.
FUN, make fun time an important time each and everyday. This could be only five minutes here and ten minutes there. Water fights, making smores, art and crafts, reading out loud, especially joke books, cooking etc.. Make time to talk about the day and listen. Let their friends come over, this is a great way to get to know your children's friends.[make sure you have snacks]haha.
Set those rules right away and include your spouse. Keep a united front. Good luck.
I am just new to Hub. I thought I will drop a few lines . I am also a single parent doing a dual role ; mother and role of father too. My kids were 18 , 14 and 10 when I separated from their dad and migrated to a new country , new environment, new culture and absolutely no male support. Indeed it was a very tuff time but my kids were very supportive. I was a teacher by profession in my home country. As I was myself brought up in a very disciplined way I brought them the same way but in a modern way ; telling them about the dos and donts of of our society's norms and culture.
Believe me we had been living NZ for the past 6 yrs and my kids are still with me. Eldest one would be getting married soon - arranged one. My son is 20 and a trained mechanic , he does have friends but he rarely goes out with them .No smoke no alcohol or girls ; just have passion for cars. Even if he goes he will ask me first in a polite manner. He just found his first crush online and told me if he could chat with her to which I agreed and also reminded him about getting emotionally involved and the probable outcome. My youngest one does sometimes speak louder and try to get her say but each time I just ignore her tantrums and she is back to normal.
Be a friend to your kids and share your experiences and all will be ok.
Wow, there is so much truly great advice here! Karen Ann, I hope you will reread these posts periodically, because every single one of them has something very good and valuable to offer. I have a couple of added comments - not to contradict anything else here, but just to add another thought or two.
First - You didn't mention how long a time you have had between boyfriends. Is it possible that some of your son's anger relates to feelings of being displaced as the main man in your life? Does he get along all right with your new beau?
Second - I have read elsewhere that children who are brought up in abusive households (as you were) tend to be more sensitive to some kinds of negativity from other people. That is, a puzzled frown on another person's face may appear to them to be disapproval, for example. I mention this because I wonder if it is possible that you are extra sensitive to the bickering between your children? Bickering is something that normal kids do, and it is not always bad. It can be a healthy thing for children to work out their own issues between themselves, with the least amount of adult intervention (as long as you maintain established boundaries about what is acceptable - no hitting, name-calling, etc.). That said, I know that there comes a time when any parent has to call a halt to the kids' arguing, and you do indeed need to be firm and fair about doing so.
One tip from my experience when my daughter was a preteen: Sometimes I would be so angry with her, that I felt I could not communicate fairly - I felt that I would either yell or create unreasonable punishments, etc. So I established a rule for myself that I would take some time to cool down before we talked. That policy worked well for us. When she said or did something that I knew I would overreact to, I would tell her "We have to talk about this; but I am so angry about it, that I think we need to take a time out first. Go wait in your room, and then in ten minutes we will talk." During those ten minutes I would try to guess (really) from her point of view what justification she might have had for her actions, then I would review the situation from my own perspective - the infraction and the realistic punishment. When we talked ten minutes later, I was in a better frame of mind to be a good parent - to hear her out, but to stick by the rules of the household and to provide appropriate consequences for her actions. And the cooling off time gave her some time to settle down too. [Added note - the younger the child, the more important it is to talk and to provide consequences close to the time of the infraction. With a 2-4-year-old child, this suggestion about waiting would not be appropriate.]
Last - you didn't mention whether you have simply talked with your son yourself about what is bothering him. Do you ever just sit down with him and say, "Son, why are you so upset about J____? Why did you treat ____ with such disrespect?" You might learn some good insights about him, about what is going on. By listening when you are not both upset, you may remind him in a new way just how important he is to you. Listening does not mean that you don't stick with the rules. You can listen and then tell him, "I understand what you are saying and what you are going through, but you must understand that I will not allow you to speak so defiantly to me or to Beau, and if you do so, then you must accept the consequences."
Good luck! We're all cheering for you.
Thank you everyone for such wonderful advice. It was much needed! We took the time this past saturday to sit down to a family meeting. We wrote down things that bothered us, what our faults were, how to improve and ways to deal with things properly. I truly believe that we all understood eachother. We wiped the slate clean(so to speak)from that momment, any negative feelings etc. We were not going to remember anything that had happened before that point but aim for a happier future. It worked, no fighting between the kids(a couple minor arguments that they were able to TALK out! Amazing!!!!) I just want my happy little family back and even though its only been a few days, there has been a drastic change! Thank you once again. I am still open to suggestions and such. I just wanted to touch base.
I'm so very glad to hear this!
Consider bookmarking this forum topic, so that you can come back and review it occasionally. Remember, we're all human!
And remember that you have a circle of friends here who hope for the best for you and your family and who are ready to give you support in the future too.
always nice to hear a happy end, or even a happy beginning, of things new. Glad the comments were helpful to you....... Enjoy your family, they grow up far too quickly
It's hard to be a parent. It's very hard to be a good parent. But being a parent you have to remember that you are a person. A human being. Not a monster, not a slave, not a cleaning lady to your children. That after 5 years old, they do not need a lot of pampering and they learn fast; good and bad things, good and bad behavior. Bad things they learn even faster - they are more thrilling. If you are a single parent, your role is extreemly difficult, but not impossible. They should know that you are honest with them, that you love them, that you stand for them no matter what, but you have a right for your rest, your time for yourself, your sanity and dignity, their help to you and YOU MEAN BUSINESS. Your kids have to know that. If you promised something, - you have to do it. Don't give your kids excuses,don't give them more than you have yourself. No better rooms, no more expensive toys and games. Thay have to "earn" all their games and toys. They have to help each other. They have to be truly brothers and sisters to each other, not rivals in your family. Nor shouting at them. Never. Your word should be enough, but you have to teach them how to listen. To you, to each other. They will grow, very fast. One day one of them will come and tell you: " I think you are the best mother in a whole world!" How do you think, you are going to feel?
how old are your children now?
passive is not going to work as a parent. I understand you're trying not to parent as your strict father, but to go to the polar opposite is just as bad, without the beatings. I have numerous hubs that may help you rather than writing a long post.
your kids sound confused, as a divorce can do to a young child.
a child has no where to turn expect to their environment. what is their environment teaching them? just like a pet, a child needs to know its boundaries, what is expected of them, who the master is. your child expects instruction and reassurance and discipline. you are building a child and must have a blueprint, something to follow and yet still allowing your child to grow and blossom as his own self. I've written about discipline and parenting, it might help, also how to help an angry child.
glad to hear things are getting better. communication is like the wiring throughout your home. without it, it's impossible to function for very long without major problems.
best to you and your family.
Hi Karen Ann,
After reading the posts I'm glad to hear you had a family meeting. Experience with my kids has taught me they always enjoy attention. One way or another. If I did not give them enough they knew how to push my buttons to get it. The more I really listened to them the less my buttons were pushed. At the time I thought I was paying them enough attention but I realized what I was thinking and what they thought were two different things. This was just my experience though.
I'm sure you are a great parent and if anything just remember that you are doing the best you can and try not to be too hard on yourself when things get a little crazy. This is really important. I believe it these family situations can happen to all of us from time to time.
Best wishes to you and yours!
i was about to write my 2 cents worth but it sounded like everything is going fine. am i just so happy to read a happy ending?
you are a good mother. and you have to believe it. it will emanate and your children will see it. i like the 3 Fs one of the forum participant mentioned. i think it summarizes how parenting should be.
also, it pays to communicate. we parents sometimes are so busy thinking about why and how things are happening and are not able to ask or talk to the children because of many reasons but it is what must be done - COMMUNICATE.
I feel for your situation and know how hard as a parent it is to ask for help and advice, as as soon as you do you feel like a failure. I myself have had behaviour issues with my toddler in the last 6 months, thankfully I asked for help from our local children's centre who were great. Not once did they belittle our parenting skills, which as first time parents were basic, but gave great advice and suggestions to try.
All children push the boundaries, whether it be simple little things such as not eating the main course of a meal and then wanting pudding or bigger issues such as staying out later at night etc. All these issues should be dealt with in a similar way and that is to stick with what you first say i.e If you say "no pudding unless you eat up" it should mean exactly that. No means No. It is hard to stick to it if you are not a particularly strong person when it comes to rules, but your children will be better for it.
Get out there girl and ask for help and guidance in dealing with your situation. You don't have to be alone dealing with this and you are not the only mum to be going through it. Remember Children of all ages, shapes and sizes push boundaries, this is how they learn right from wrong and respect!
Sounds like you need the "Total Transformation Program"... Your their parent not their friend first. Don't feel sorry for making independent people... This society is so over protected now a days. They don't know reality from fantasy... Be strict but loving and don't ever give in.
While reading this I am in tears because I know exactly what you are going through. I see this is 15 months ago and wondering how are things now? Any changes? If things are like mine then there aren't many changes just empty promises. Everyone can sit back and say I would do this and I would do that and no matter what you try there seems to be no difference. Its all easier said than done and if your not in the position or dealt with children with bad behavior you really don't know what you would do. I have two children. My boy 15 is unruly yet lovable, kind, hard working and other people see him as such a hard worker but at home it is constant chaos. My younger daughter on the other hand has a totally different personality and shows nothing but sweetness. If you'd like to chat maybe we can trade stories. Boy do I have some stories! Broken doors, walls and you name it we go through it. Mornings are the worst with his temperment. I have tried doctors, meds , phycologists, family and individual council. Just when I think we have things nipped and under control something goes crazy again. I hear you and you are not alone!!!
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