Parenting Nightmare! Somebody please give me some advice!

Emma (Girl With Fire) Emma (Girl With Fire)
Ok so I have spent all day chasing my kids around, from toilet paper in the sink to clog it like a plug (intentionally) to just throwing toys for the hell of it. I have been asking since 9 am for my kids to clean up.

The original offer was:
if you clean up you can have ice cream after lunch.
Then:
if you don't clean up there will be no ice cream.
Clean up or you will be staying in your room until it is clean
Clean up or I start taking toys away, every toy you play with I will take away until your room is clean and you will not be getting them back,
Clean up or you will be going to bed with no supper, no ice cream, no toys and no bedtime story.
You have 20 minutes to clean up or it's bed time.
......

They are not cleaning.
They have not had dinner, ice cream, I have taken their toys away, and a book or two.
They now have 10 minutes... and are just playing. If I take away any more toys I will be doing their job for them. When I put them to sleep they will be going to bed in beds full of toys, I am not making their beds first. I have no idea what else to do. One of them is 4.5 the other is almost 3 and SMART. Both of them are smart.

PLEASE tell me that one of you had kids this damn frustrating, and that you figured out something that worked.
01/16/2011
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Owl Identified Owl Identified
That sucks. A LOT. Gah. Sorry this has been such a hellish day for you!! I'll warn you off that bat that I'm not a parent, but I have worked extensively with this age group for quite a few years (and I still currently do) and I've encountered this problem a lot. Sometimes it feels like EVERYTHING is a struggle with this age group. If you only want a parent's perspective I totally understand, but if you want to keep reading here's my two cents below:

I've found that bribes and bargaining are a really bad way to get results. They're tempting and sometimes you feel like it's all you have to use as leverage, but they almost never work. Unfortunately if you offer a young child a reward when they behave badly (if you stop acting badly ie. do what you should be doing anyway, I will give you ice cream) it really only perpetuates the bad behavior and shows them that acting out is an effective way of getting what they want. It also shows the child that they can control you and the situation around them with bad behavior; that anger, bad language, lack of respect and other negative qualities and behaviors are effective ways to be gain power and control over others. This is NOT a good message to send, in my humble opinion!

If the kids I work with are behaving badly, I get down on the ground and request they to look me in the eyes and ask them why they are behaving this way. Kids often resist this because they feel embarrassed or uncomfortable, but that's kind of the idea. It's important to hold them accountable; when you do sometimes they immediately become bashful because they know their behavior is unacceptable. I then say something like "I know you are very smart and very considerate, so I am confused why you are making choices that hurt me and your classmates. You aren't showing me or your friends what a smart and considerate person you are. Is there a better choice that you can make right now? It makes me sad that you aren't showing me how great you really are."

I also explain (if possible) how their actions are effective others directly in a negative way. Making kids feel powerless only upsets them, and I never want a kid to feel like they have no power. They do! I like to show them that their words and actions are powerful, and have consequences, and that is the reason I am upset. Because the consequences in this case are negative.

In my personal experience I've never found that being a tyrant or a pushover is helpful - gotta meet the little buggers somewhere in the middle. I have always had the best luck with treating kids with respect and showing them that although I do have the final say as the adult, they have some say too. They have the power to make decisions about how they want their day to go - they can choose to eat lunch separately from their friends, or they can choose to sit with their friends. I am firm but I give the child the option to make a better choice for themselves before discipline; I empower them to make that better choice by telling them that they are intelligent and good, and that they have the right and the opportunity to show the world that through their actions. If I need to discipline a child I explain why I am doing this. "The choices you are making are hurtful. When you leave your toys out you make the room unsafe for me and your friends to walk in. If you cannot be nice to your teachers and friends you cannot (sit in the group, play outside with them, whatever.) I expect more from you than this, and you can join us when you are ready to act as nicely and considerately as I know you can."

Obviously, depending on the age, you have to simplify the language to make it something they can understand. Sometimes (if it's a two year, for example) I just say "Your behavior is hurting me. How would you feel if I was hurting you?"

And so on like that.

I don't know if any of this helps, it's just what has worked for me in my experiences. I recognize that it's different as a parent, although at some of the places I've worked at I actually spent more time with the kids than their parents (sadly enough.) I hope you find a solution that works for your family, and also that you don't go crazy in the process!!! Best of luck.
01/16/2011
Owl Identified Owl Identified
One more thing: It's really hard for me to keep my cool when kids are acting badly, but I feel like showing that I am upset and acting with anger or whatnot only escalates the situation. It's hard to remember but kids really rely on adults to help keep them on track, and when I get upset I notice the kids get more upset too. I am saying one thing ("Behave nicely") and doing the opposite. I also notice that if I come into work with a bad attitude (because I'm tired or what have you) the kids tend to act worse. I really believe kids are extremely sensitive to the emotions of their caretakers.

Granted I am ONLY able to consistently NOT act/speak emotionally because I am NOT the parent - I am a paid caretaker and I'm NOT allowed to be angry lol, otherwise I will get fired. Still, it's REEEEEALLY hard but worth it because it works, at least for me.
01/16/2011
Illusional Illusional
Sex and Lies has some good methods.
I am certified to work with infants to eight year olds, and you have to explain what you're doing and why.
Bribes are good, when they do right without being told.

Bribes to get them to do good, don't work usually.

Let them know that they're hurting your feelings and upsetting you.

I currently live with a 2 year old girl, a 3 year old boy, a 5 year old girl and a 7 year old boy.
Each of them have chores, and they get rewarded when they do them without being told.
And lots of praise.
Kids are a handful, but take a deep breath and try talking to them.
01/16/2011
cherryredhead88 cherryredhead88
Haven't read a whole lot of this thread, but have you ever checked out Love and Logic? It's great, the hardest part is sticking to your boundaries. Give them a choice: yuo can either clean and so and so will happen, or don't clean and, say, go to bed early. If they don't clean, throw their ass in bed
01/16/2011
Owl Identified Owl Identified
Quote:
Originally posted by Illusional
Sex and Lies has some good methods.
I am certified to work with infants to eight year olds, and you have to explain what you're doing and why.
Bribes are good, when they do right without being told.

Bribes to get them to do good, ... More
Really good points regarding the praise for good behavior. Positive reinforcement = really effective in my experience.
01/16/2011
Emma (Girl With Fire) Emma (Girl With Fire)
Quote:
Originally posted by Owl Identified
That sucks. A LOT. Gah. Sorry this has been such a hellish day for you!! I'll warn you off that bat that I'm not a parent, but I have worked extensively with this age group for quite a few years (and I still currently do) and I've ... More
Thank you, I actually do try to employ these or similar tactics when I am dealing with them. I do not find them effective, I do want my children to feel like I care how they feel and what they think, so I talk to them and give them the opportunity to tell me. I do tell them that I love them,and that I think that they are very smart and very sweet. I tell them that they need to be respectful of other people, of themselves and of their surroundings ie. our home, my sons school, friends and families houses, etc. I also tell them that they can show their respect by listening when people talk to them, by looking at them when they are talking and listening, by treating them fairly, and they can show respect for their surroundings by not breaking or throwing things, not spilling juice all over shit for the sake of spilling juice, or throwing food on the floor, by cleaning up when they are done with what they are using. To show respect for themselves they should want to put their best foot forward and show people that they are the smart and sweet children that they are and not be mean or disrespectful. They usually sit, listen to me, repeat back everything i have just said to them (paraphrased) and then they walk away and throw their toys on the floor and hit each other then knock a drink over and walk away. At which point I tell them what they have done and have them clean it up and apologize then I give them time out, and they freak. When they come out of time out they do pretty much the same thing all over again and this is when I lose my shit.

I just sat them both down and talked to them, I figured it's still early so I would give them another chance to clean up. They had just spent half an hour in bed because I had sent them to bed. I talked to my son first, and had him start cleaning, then talked to my daughter. While I was talking to my daughter my son kept coming back in the room and yelling things out excitedly : OOH! I found a toy! Look look!" needless to say this made it distracting for both me and his sister which I explained. So he sat down beside me quietly, I had my daughter go start to clean up, she started playing with her dolls, and I told her and my son to clean, she said she was and he told me he was too tired. I sent them back to their bedroom and turned all the lights back off.
01/16/2011
Emma (Girl With Fire) Emma (Girl With Fire)
Quote:
Originally posted by cherryredhead88
Haven't read a whole lot of this thread, but have you ever checked out Love and Logic? It's great, the hardest part is sticking to your boundaries. Give them a choice: yuo can either clean and so and so will happen, or don't clean and, ... More
I talk to them first and then give them their options. They don't necessarily involve a bribe, but I might say, you can clean and your room will be all nice and then there will be room to set up your train set or something, or you can not clean and I will have to take all your toys and throw them in the trash because it is too dangerous to have them lying around on the floor, you or your sister/brother or I could get very hurt.

I have actually thrown a bag of toys in the trash before. Granted I happened to selectively choose the ones I already wanted to get rid of, but the kids didn't know that. I DO tell them what they are doing makes me upset, and if they were playing with other kids the kids would be very upset too. It just doesn't seem to bother them.'
01/16/2011
hive83 hive83
Quote:
Originally posted by Emma (Girl With Fire)
Ok so I have spent all day chasing my kids around, from toilet paper in the sink to clog it like a plug (intentionally) to just throwing toys for the hell of it. I have been asking since 9 am for my kids to clean up.

The original offer was: ... More
Our kids are 31 & 37 years old nothing works it just gets worse.
01/16/2011
Alicia Alicia
I've had the same trouble with mine all day..and she's almost 10. We even started at 9am too, though she has been cleaning...just slowly.

My younger two though..I know if there room is really a mess and I am expecting it organized I need to help them. They're just not old enough to really grasp organization. But if you're just wanting them to put toys back on shelves or in toy boxes then yea, they should be able to do that. Both my boys do really well with putting stuff away, they're the youngest at 5 and 6, but my daughter has always been the problem child when it comes to cleaning since she was like 3.

Right now her room is MOSTLY done, but I told her that if she calls me back up there saying it's done one more time and it's not I'm just throwing it all away. She's called me up like four times now and if she thinks that's done...well it's just laughable. I've actually had it up to here so much that I refuse to check it again. I'm taking deep breaths and counting to ten and am going to let my husband go check it because I'm just beyond done at this point....it's been a LONG day.
01/16/2011
Owl Identified Owl Identified
Quote:
Originally posted by Emma (Girl With Fire)
Thank you, I actually do try to employ these or similar tactics when I am dealing with them. I do not find them effective, I do want my children to feel like I care how they feel and what they think, so I talk to them and give them the opportunity to ... More
Sounds like you've done what you can for today! You gave them the benefit of the doubt and showed them the courtesy of giving them another chance, but since they have violated your goodwill you are sending them back to their rooms - makes sense to me.

I hope you can find some peace in all of this...maybe it's time for you to play with your own toys! And don't forget to clean them up when you're done or I will send YOU to bed early

Also, my hat is off to all the mothers in this thread. Damn. You all work REALLY hard.
01/16/2011
*HisMrs* *HisMrs*
Quote:
Originally posted by Alicia
I've had the same trouble with mine all day..and she's almost 10. We even started at 9am too, though she has been cleaning...just slowly.

My younger two though..I know if there room is really a mess and I am expecting it organized I ... More
That's how I had to learn.. When I was about 12 or so my mom was having a prob with me cleaning my room. After a day or two of hounding me and not getting anywhere she came in with a trashbag and started putting all my stuff in it.. It ended up going to the trash! From then on I kept my room spotless!
01/16/2011
Vaccinium Vaccinium
Quote:
Originally posted by hive83
Our kids are 31 & 37 years old nothing works it just gets worse.
I don't do the bribes. The way I look at it, they have a job to do, and they shouldn't be rewarded for it. I definitely prefer the stick method to that of the carrot method, although I do reward them for things that they do voluntarily that they are not expected to do.

We always battle with our kids, of course, but ultimately we get our way, even if it causes huge turmoil. There are times they really test us and steadfastly refuse to do something even if we take away everything that is important to them (TV time, computer time, Wii time, dessert, etc), and then we resort to sending them to bed earlier. When that fails, we make them exercise. We've never gotten past that, because they each hate having to do 20 pushups, 50 jumping jacks, etc. When they complete those exercises, we tell them again to do their chores, and if they refuse, they have to do those same exercises again (but they have learned their lesson after the first set of exercises, so a second time around has been unnecessary.

We try to be evenhanded and fair, but at the same time, they need to understand that there are things they must do and that they are not living in a democracy. We also try to be consistent with what we do, so they understand the consequences rather than having to guess at them.

Best of luck to you. Those ages are especially hard.
01/16/2011
Emma (Girl With Fire) Emma (Girl With Fire)
Quote:
Originally posted by Alicia
I've had the same trouble with mine all day..and she's almost 10. We even started at 9am too, though she has been cleaning...just slowly.

My younger two though..I know if there room is really a mess and I am expecting it organized I ... More
Yeah, all they have to do is put stuffed animals in a basket, toys in a rubbermade bin, and my daughter has a little zip container for her my little ponies. Not hard at all. I actually put half their shit in storage bins last time this happened and they have yet to get it back. Tomorrow my son has school so I will wake up with him, get him dressed and give him and my daughter a big breakfast. Walk him to school, hit the grocery store and come back and clean with my daughter. If she doesn't want to clean she can sit on her bed and I will give her a book to keep her there, and when I am done I will take all of the toys and books out of their room. If they want to play with them I will give them 1 each and every time they want a new one they will have to bring me their old one and exchange it. I will not be plugging their tv back in or turning it around (it's facing the wall). I will probably work this scenario for a week and next weekend I will give their stuff back with the strict warning that if they do not put their toys away before get new ones out I will take their toys away again and they will not be getting them back. I will put them into storage and leave them with nothing but books.
01/16/2011
Emma (Girl With Fire) Emma (Girl With Fire)
By the way I wanted to thank you guys for all of your suggestions. Sex and Lies, I was totally planning an evening alone with my toys. I ALWAYS clean up when I'm done.
01/16/2011
Vaccinium Vaccinium
Quote:
Originally posted by Emma (Girl With Fire)
Yeah, all they have to do is put stuffed animals in a basket, toys in a rubbermade bin, and my daughter has a little zip container for her my little ponies. Not hard at all. I actually put half their shit in storage bins last time this happened and ... More
Unfortunately, sometimes kids have to learn the hard way. So long as you stick to the punishments you levied, they should realize the their actions. That should, in theory, make things easier the next time this happens.

Of course, theory doesn't always translate to practice.
01/16/2011
Gunsmoke Gunsmoke
Sorry - I don't have time to read all the lengthy suggestions. I'll just relay the best advice my father gave me. Never make a threat you're not willing to follow up on - keep your mouth shut rather than sacrifice your credibility.

I also read a good piece of advice - don't be predictable, sometimes make the punishment totally disproportionate to the 'crime'. It keeps them guessing because they are often willing to risk the penalty when they what it's going to be - but if they don't know how bad it will be, they may think 2x.

Mine are in college now - no more worries for us!
01/17/2011
Josh aka FootMan Josh aka FootMan
When ever I can remember being that defiant as a kid, I just wanted attention.

I was a little bastard, all the time. I'm amazed my mother never killed me.
01/17/2011
Kim! Kim!
Quote:
Originally posted by Josh aka FootMan
When ever I can remember being that defiant as a kid, I just wanted attention.

I was a little bastard, all the time. I'm amazed my mother never killed me.
That's my son too.

It isn't like he doesn't get attention, he just wants more. We can be reading a book and snuggling but he'll start doing things just for more attention.

I wish that I had some better advice for you. I can only sympathize. :/
01/17/2011
Emma (Girl With Fire) Emma (Girl With Fire)
Thanks everybody, for the suggestions and the understanding. I luckily just got a break because my ex came back into town and took them for a day and a half. I am in a much better head space now..... 12 loads of laundry and a LOT of vacuuming later.
01/19/2011
BBW Talks Toys BBW Talks Toys
Quote:
Originally posted by Emma (Girl With Fire)
Ok so I have spent all day chasing my kids around, from toilet paper in the sink to clog it like a plug (intentionally) to just throwing toys for the hell of it. I have been asking since 9 am for my kids to clean up.

The original offer was: ... More
I HAVE kids that damn frustrating. One is 5 and one is 3.

I find that when I turn off the tv (not saying you haven't done that already) and walk them through what I want them to do, it gets done more efficiently. They're very competitive and so sometimes we'll have "races" to see who finishes their task first.

Other than that.... I gots nuffin. I will likely murder my children one day. Okay, I won't, but I can see how those crazy people get to the point of doing so.
01/19/2011
Emma (Girl With Fire) Emma (Girl With Fire)
Quote:
Originally posted by BBW Talks Toys
I HAVE kids that damn frustrating. One is 5 and one is 3.

I find that when I turn off the tv (not saying you haven't done that already) and walk them through what I want them to do, it gets done more efficiently. They're very ... More
LMAO, I have said that repeatedly. I love my kids and would never ever hurt them, but I can understand how people want to. WANTING however is VERY different from DOING.

My kids compete to not do anything. When they ignore me I turn the tv off and have to unplug it because they will just turn it back on otherwise. GAH. Sometimes, they are really good, and they clean when I ask them, but they don't do it, when they don't want to. They hear very selectively too. For instance I will ask them to do something repeatedly and they wont even react, but when I say, "Ok I'm going to turn off the tv, and take away your toys" Immediate reaction. So silly.
01/19/2011
BBW Talks Toys BBW Talks Toys
Quote:
Originally posted by Emma (Girl With Fire)
LMAO, I have said that repeatedly. I love my kids and would never ever hurt them, but I can understand how people want to. WANTING however is VERY different from DOING.

My kids compete to not do anything. When they ignore me I turn the tv off ... More
I think it's an age/developmental thing too. We just gotta bear down and stick to our boundaries. Right? RIGHT? OMG!!!! RIGHT???!!!???!!!
01/19/2011
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Unique posters: 12