Friday, May 28, 2010

No Good, Very Bad Day

Is TODAY!

There are many pieces to my crabby day puzzle. One of the main reasons this day is making my blood boil is because of... my kids. I know that sounds horrible but it's true....and worst of all I know I'm one of the biggest factors in my girls driving me crazy.

I have been letting them get away with WAY to much, catering to them WAY to often and generally not giving them the guidance they need to respond to what is needed of them...like being OBEDIENT and THANKFUL and KIND....and to do this all without WHINING or COMPLAINING or flat out IGNORING.

I need help and I need it fast...no time for book reading....I want instant gratification help...I need to get through the rest of this day without taking my frustrations out on my children and nap time is only going to last 2 hours if I'm lucky.

I know some of the issues we struggle with but I'm overwhelmed with where to start and how extreme to go for a 3 1/2 year old and almost 2yr old???

Should I:
-only offer one option for breakfast so I'm not constantly getting them things to eat all morning....and send them to bed hungry if they didn't eat their dinner at the table at dinner time? should I just make a meal plan for every meal and snack and if they don't like it too bad?

-throw the toys away that they get out and play with but complain about picking up? Should I just put all toys, games, crafts up high so they can't get multiple things out at once even if that means I won't get anything done all day because I'll be getting things for them constantly?

- put them in time out's all day for every single thing they fight about, every unkind word, every selfish moment?

-always be willing to stop what I'm doing to help, play with or cater to?

-make a game plan with my hubby tonight and flip the switch on the girls tomorrow...can we change our expectation (or at least start enforcing them)all at once or should we do it in steps?

If I was reading this on someone's blog I'd think about all the "picture perfect" ways to handle these issues but my life is not "picture perfect", my mothering skill are far from "picture perfect" (obviously)...and I know there is no such thing as "picture perfect"....I just don't know where to start. I have so many ideas about how I WAN'T to mother my girls and right now I feel like a complete failure!

Any ideas? Anyone? Besides turning me over to NANNY 911 (or whatever that show is called...maybe I should start watching it...huh...)

14 comments:

Kate said...

Cara, for what its worth, here's my two cents. And honestly this is how I do things in our house, so know that I TOTALLY feel your pain! :)
As soon as they are out of their nap/quiet time. Sit them down and solemnly tell them what is about to happen and what is going to change. I mean seriously. _____ is no longer happening in our family. We are to talk this way instead. We are going to obey the First Time. etc.. etc...
Then, and heres the tough part. Do It! As soon as there is any whining, or hitting, or aruguing, or talking back, or disobedience, or ingnoring. Put them in their room for 3 min. or whatever. Something harsh that they will HATE. Take away the toy, spank, time out, whatever you need to do and keep it the same punishment for most everything. Don't get mad, don't yell. Just look at them and say, welp you just disobeyed. Now you will be spanked. You just ignored me, now you will be spanked. What ever the offence that you are having the most issue with. Zero in on that one and WORK on it for that day or week or until you see major improvement. Ususally I'll take two behaviors, like bickering and delayed obedience and work the heck out of it for that week. Or picking up toys, I would explain that there will be no doing ANYTHING until their toys are put away and THEY are doing it not, mommmy. They touch it, they put it away as soon as they want to move onto something else. ( This has caused us to be late to many things or miss them all together because they can't do ANYTHING until their romm looks clean.)
Ok, this comment doesn't make much sense, just a whole bunch of thoughts on the subject. We are in the same boat you're in and its hard and draining. Hang in there, Cara!

Cara said...

Thanks Kate! I totally appreciate your advise and I plan to use it. I think many times I just need some real life encouragement and to be reminded that it is hard....it's supposed to be hard. I like the idea of choosing a few behavior issues to work on at a time.

Christy said...

Hi Cara, Obviously no kids but the punishment my brother hated the most (when I was a mean, older sister babysitter) was having to have a timeout in the bathroom!!! I think as a mommy that is probably too mean. LOL. There were too many good toys in his room!! Well - hope you got a laugh. Hang in there!
Christy

Sarah Griffin said...

I recently attended a Mom's group where we had a guest speaker, Craig Caster author of "Parenting is a Ministry"... great book for when you do have time to read! :) A few things he suggested in his talk on discipline that made a lot of sense to me is:
a. have a list of rules, written out.. and a list of consequences for them.
b. the consequence should fit the crime... for most things with kids ages 2-6 this would mean a time out. but for things like not picking up toys when asked, then the toys should go in a trashbag and put away for a specified amount of time, etc.
c. distinguish a difference between discipline and punishment... the discipline should be to correct the behavior, the punishment should be used as a motivator when they resist the discipline. for example, lets say they talk back and your discipline is a time out... if they are resisting the time out and not staying where they are told, then as a punishment they would then receive a spanking.
d. and of course after they are done receiving their discipline and/or punishment always sit down with them and talk to them about they did wrong and remind them that you love them and that you are discipling them because you love them and because God gave you that job as their mommy.
hope that helps... my son is only 22 months but it has been pretty effective in our home so far.

joy said...

You are not alone, Cara. As far as the food battles go, my opinion is to just make what you're going to make and your kids have the choice to eat it or not. There have been many times that at least one child has gone to bed very hungry because he chose not to eat dinner. That being said, I try to have at least one element to dinner that I think they will eat and try to cook something for dinner I know they'll like every other night or so. I don't feel I can always cook what I know they'll love because then we'd be eating pasta every night and they wouldn't get to try new foods. They have to take at least one bite of everything before declining. Be firm on the snacks, too. My kids could eat all morning long if I let them and I'd never leave the kitchen. Set a time for snack and after a good breakfast just tell them that snack time is at whatever time you choose. If my kids decided not to eat breakfast or don't finish something they have asked for, I either save it for them or tell them they will not be getting snack and have to wait for lunch. The food thing is hard because hungry kids often mean grumpy kids, but it shouldn't take long for them to know you are serious. I think it's okay if a kid goes to bed hungry or skips a snack time--they will survive.
I agree with Kate on the toys and bickering thing. I think clearly telling your girls (especially Bekah) your expectations, the consequences if they are not followed, and then being consistent are the key. Just know you are not alone. I think we all struggle with this at least a little! Consistency is hard. Period. YOu're doing a great job, just keep on going. :)

shari said...

wow, that is some great advice from everyone!

i'm not going to add to it because i think too much will just be overwhelming.

but i will say this...weekends are a great time to start (unless going out of town or having peeps over) because keith can help.

and yes, the details are very important (i.e. three minutes, list of rules, sticking to it not matter what) but just know that if you 'fail' several times at getting them to do what you want, they will still turn out to be great kids. ALL kids go through these stages no matter how good of a parent you are. i worked for four years at our university's research facility specifically for 2-3 year olds. EVERY kid had some kind of 'problem' or issue. we can't win them all...and they can't either.

i keep telling myself these things with my little newborn who is now sucking on his STUPID pacifier because we can't let him cry because of acid reflux. all i can think of is that we will now never have a chance of breaking this habit! haha.

let us know how it goes. it's encouraging to a new mom like me who feels like i am all alone in this!

Melissa said...

All I can say is I appreciate everyone's advice, too! Kadence is only 20 months, but the discipline struggle is already there. It's one thing to say what you want to do, and another thing to actually have the energy to do it consistently every time when it's often easier not to. I'd like to be a little more hard core than I am. Hang in there, Cara.

Mama said...

I can completely relate to so many of the things you are dealing with. One thing I have a handle on is the food issue. I am not a short order cook. I cook what we are going to have to eat and they can either eat it or not. If they choose not to eat it they do not get ANYTHING else until the next meal, even if that means until breakfast. Kids are not going to let themselves starve and if they are hungry they will eat even if they don't like it very much. Every kid has their preferences as far as food goes, but I feel like it is important to continue to offer a variety of foods and not always give them the few foods that they love. That is how picky eaters are "made" they aren't born that way.

I'm struggling right along with you with the figthing, bickering, hitting, messiness and all that stuff.

I still don't know what the right answer is for us on that one yet and some days are waaaaay harder than others.

All you can do is take one day at a time and pick your battles wisely. If you decide to make it a battle you MUST win, no matter what.

christa said...

I recently stumbled across your blog - your girls are adorable!

I'm not a mom yet, but I've been babysitting/nanny-ing for almost 13 years. Between parents and myself, I've learned somethings! Of course everything doesn't work for every kid, but here is a short run-down of what has worked best for me!

I'll just run down your list...

breakfast: I would offer options here, but only 2-3. cereal, frozen waffles, or fruit... yogurt, oatmeal, or scrambled eggs. That way the girls still get a choice, but you aren't acting as short order cook.

dinner: Make 1 meal. If they don't like it, put them to bed hungry. They will learn to eat what is put in front of them. That's how I was raised, and I know some picky eaters that were transformed by doing this.

toys: Maybe you should try toy-rotation? Get 2-3 bins and separate the toys evenly... 2 dolls per bin, a couple puzzles per bin, etc. Rotate the bins every other week, or whatever you decide. Then you have less toys out at once, less to pick up later! Having one spot for things to go makes picking up easier for kids.

punishment: Designate a time out spot for each child - so if they are in time-out at the same time they are not sitting together. Some people use rugs in corners, a stair, or little chairs. Give them 2 warnings, then they get a time-out. I always do 1 minute per year of age. Sit the child down, tell them why they are in trouble, and that they have to think about what they did. If they get up, time starts over. Once they served their time go back and ask them why they were sitting there, ask for an apology, then give a hug and a kiss and send them back to their activity. I always heard that spanking gave children a mixed message, you hit them, then want to kiss and snuggle them later. Of course I NEVER spank a child I am watching, I'm not their parent.

I think you should what ever seems right for your family - one change at a time, or all at once. Some things are easier to change than others!

Good luck, I hope you'll update us with what you have tried!

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Liv said...

Wow! Some good advice some not so good advice... the thing that has made the MOST progress in Aria's attitude and obedience is called
- 1st time obedience-
and a one wooden spoon spank to the but.
I never enjoy discipline- its just what must be done and everyone benefits from it! Aria knows Im not messing around and she understand the consequence-

I find lots of moms hesitate really spanking their kid because we find it harsh or cruel or we are teaching them to spank (a load of hog wash) your the parent and teaching girls to be sweet, creative, pleasant ladies is our job. I really liked what Kate said- and her kids show the fruit of it!

by the way you look really stellar in all your recent pictures!!! Way to go- the north is treating you well!

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2Badgers said...

Hi Cara,
Just a little late reconnecting with the blog, but enjoyed all you have written and the pictures. On the subject of managing all the challenges of both girls and being a picture perfect Mom, you are doing an admirable job, but it is very tiring with so much young exhuberance at once! I remember not being very sensitive to their needs, while working so hard to keep things under wraps, cleaned up and a system in place. Now that they are grown, I think an honest plan for consequences is good to have, and follow through on, but less of my efforts to verbally respond to every issue they presented would have probably helped me not to allow myself to be worn down as much. Naps did help, and also not fixing more than maybe 2-3 things for dinner, one of which they liked such as Mac.and Cheese, or Grilled Cheese, was a key also:)But then they were boys and food is probably simpler for them. Praying for each day for God's perspective for you to enjoy their "antics", to pause and ponder, react less, as to how they grow up so quickly in spite of a dedicated mom's input. Glad Keith is in it with you, and most of all our everloving God who imparts His mercy!

Abbi Hilawa said...

nice info , i like it, thanks for share :-)