Yeah right, I wish. Until very recently I felt like I was yelling at my kids all the time, which is completely at odds with my parenting philosophy of NOT yelling at my kids all the time. Granted, they totally deserved it. In the last few months it’s like they have somehow figured out all the things that I find most annoying in the under-twenty set, and are doing ALL of it…CONSTANTLY. It doesn’t help that I’m in my forties and didn’t have this in my life until just over four years ago AND that I have PMS every other week lately which is just Mother Nature’s way of making a bad day into one that’s run-away-worthy.
I think ever since Frick and Frack turned two and basically became sentient beings for the first time, it dawned on them that there were limited resources in the world and they want them some. Which is a problem for Bisky, who is used to ruling the world with an iron fist inside an iron glove…a spiked iron glove at that. Now keep in mind that other than having been a kid a million years ago, I know nothing about them. I pretty much got all my parenting know-how from one book and from vowing not to do any of the stupid-a$$ stuff I read about on social media. But unfortunately we now have behavioral issues that are beyond my competency level to solve.
Kid A takes Kid B’s thing. Kid B reacts by shrieking like s/he’s on fire and hitting A. Kid C thinks this is fun and also starts hitting A, who then bites or kicks B and A. Someone eventually starts crying, someone else gets the thing and everyone’s screaming. One of them gets removed from the situation which may or may not precipitate a full body melt-down complete with smashing one’s own head into the floor. Now, this happens on a pretty much continual basis. Here are the things that have been suggested as either causes or solutions, in no particular order:
- Use distraction. “Hey #NoBen, instead of throwing a rock at Aiden, let’s try coloring”. Result – #NoBen says with his eyes (and actions) that that’s a stupid idea, and throwing rocks at Aiden is much more fun.
- Use positive modeling. “Gentle touch, Aiden. Gentle touch. We play kindly.” Result: Aiden gently pats Bisky before and after hitting her with a piece of train track.
- Punishment: I had great hopes in this, fortified by several pastors, behavioral psychology, and common sense. Unfortunately, the end result is that whatever we do to them, they immediately do to one another so it’s pointless. Yesterday I overheard Bisky enthusiastically telling #NoBen he was getting a timeout AND going to jail (BTW…I have never implemented or even threatened Jail)
- Explain firmly not to do the thing: “Don’t do the thing!”. Result. They do the thing.
- Use positive reinforcement to reward the good behavior: I thought we were on to something here when Bisky equated ‘unlocking privileges” with good behavior. This would probably be the hands down winner, except the boys TOUCH the ‘privilege chart’ – resulting in further violence and loss of privileges.
- Loss of coveted item: Again, thought we were onto something here. At least for Aiden and Bisky who are completely addicted to media. We actually did take Bisky’s kindle away from her because she was too addicted and it saddened her greatly. Result: Unfortunately, the sadness seemed to have made her irritable, and therefore more prone to bad behavior.
- Change diet: It was then suggested to me that food dyes or gluten could be the culprit. That makes sense, considering that Aiden’s diet is almost 100% gluten and that he’s currently the biggest offender. So I removed Mio from the house (wahhhhh) and am monitoring carb intake. Result: Sadness…see above.
- “STOP FIGHTING RIGHT NOW YOU’RE DRVING ME CRAZY JUST STOOOOOPPPPPP”. Result: I feel like crap. Kids start yelling all the time.
I refuse to investigate this online because of my ardent DGS (don’t google sh*^) approach to physical and mental health but we did talk to the kids’ doctor. I was expecting a referral to a mental health professional or an exorcist, but was told instead that this happens all the time now because kids have no physical outlet for their stress and aggression because we don’t live in a world anymore where parents can just throw them outside to run around and get their crazies out. That makes sense and probably explains why parents are so much crazier now too.
In the midst of all this, our au pair had to go back to Mexico due to a) hating & undermining me and b) drinking illegally, and we’ve had someone join us who is an expert on kids and kid behavior. I’ve noticed that the children have suddenly stopped 90% of the bad behavior. I’m trying to figure out what she’s doing differently and from what I can tell, it’s keeping them constantly busy in activities, and keeping calm. Keeping calm, go figure. I guess I’ll have to try that one too…see? I am never too old to learn.