The boys are 7, 5 and 2, and they are all high energy. I also have a 14 year old stepdaughter who lives with us half the time. I have a supportive husband who is a good father (although, he has also been struggling to keep his patience). In school, the boys do well and don't have huge behaviour problems. The kids are involved in sports so that they have a chance to burn off energy. We try very hard to be good parents - we spend time with our kids; we have "family meetings", we set expectations that are reasonable for their ages. For the most part, our 2 year old does fine and there are no problems. The situations that really trigger big problems are those when either: the 5 yr old and 7 yr old rough housing / getting too excited and then completely not listening to me or my husband when we are asking them to settle and/or complete a task and/or total battles over getting them to do simple daily tasks (ie. brushing teeth) despite the fact that we have prompted them several times. Eventually, I will end up yelling at them out of desperation to get them to listen to me. I know parenting isn't easy, but I'm finding the stress on a daily basis to be overwhelming me.
You and your husband are doing all of the right things. You seem to have a great family with lots of love, support and engagement. Your boys are active, like most boys will be....including my own three who are 15, 12, and 10 now. I have been in your shoes. I am a teacher as well and I know what you are experiencing.
Here are a few ideas to assist you in trying some different approaches.
When you tell your children to do something and they will not listen;
-Get their attention by clapping your hands, sining a song, ringing a bell...but do not yell.
-Connect to your children when talking to them: get down to their eye level, make eye contact with them, address them by their name, use short sentences with many 1 syllable words, and do not ramble because your children will tune you out.
-Have your children repeat your requests back to you to reinforce listening skills.
-Begin your requests with "I" messages..."I want you, Johnny, to..."
-Give choices and likable alternatives.
I hope that some of these suggestions will assist you. You may need to rethink your expectations as well. Your children will not obey everything that you say all of the time. They will be deviant as they are trying to assert their independence. Just give it a little time and try to stop yelling first and foremost. It is difficult enough teaching and then coming home to your own kids. Do not stress yourself out too much. Your journey of parenting has many years to come.
If I was able to help you, please ACCEPT. If you need further assistance, please let me know. Have a great evening and a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family.
Thanks for your reply. Your suggestions are good and very practical. I have come across some of them before, but they are good reminders on what we should be doing. I do know that we have to stop yelling. I really do. I just need to develop some other habits or patterns to replace the yelling. You have to believe me that the yelling happens only after I have: given ample warning about the transition of activities, given a few pleasant reminders, offerred choices, and perhaps even communicated a consequence for failure to comply. I mean, overall, I consider myself to be a fairly patient person....it's just SO frustrating sometimes.
One of the most important things in your answer for me though, was to hear that your children are all boys!!! Oh my goodness - you totally GET it!! Most of my closest friends have only girls and it honestly feels like their parenting experiences are happening on another planet. Don't get me wrong, they have their challenges, too - but am I out of my mind to be thinking that boys involve a lot more energy? Do you have any other advice specific to the raising of boys that will help guide us through this adventure? And I DO mean adventure. :)
Hopefully , this will help you and provide you with some insight.....
-Set boundaries -Enforce consequences -Be consistent -When children misbehave, make sure that they understand what they did wrong and what should have been done instead...but do not harbor on the issue -I did spank the boys on their butt though not hard and it was just 1 or 2 pops for severe misbehaving. -Time outs work for 5 to 10 minutes in complete isolation from others usually in their bedroom seated in a chair or on the bed.
COMMUNICATION -Communicate often -Show interest in your children -Boys do not express themselves easily. Less verbal than girls. -Boys may not want to discuss events at the time that parents want responses. Revisit the issue later when the child seems more willing to talk. -Boys seem to communicate more openly with mom rather than with dad. Maybe moms have the softer heart.
SCHOOL -Boys do not like reading even though they enjoy being read to. -Writing is another subject that they will not enjoy much. -Math and sciences are usually strengths -Buy lots of math and science related toys to stimulate interests -Boys will get into trouble no matter how well behaved they are at home. All my boys got into trouble at school in the elementary years at least once and they are good kids. -Boys will get into trouble for excessive talking, pushing another child in self defense, and saying a bad word. Get ready!
BEHAVIOR -They need to be taught respect and good manners -Boys will be boys though -They have bursts of energy that need to be released -Make sure that they have enough physical space to be active -They will like to play fight and wrestle -When they get hurt, as long as there is no blood and they are not in pain, then they are fine -They often act without thinking -These are some of the things my boys have done: shaved off eyebrows twice, wrote on the wall with a purple crayon, cut a hole in the new sofa and pulled out some of the stuffing, used a screw driver and scratched up the side of my car, hid in the backseat of my car for several minutes at home while my husband and I were frantically searching, put a quarter in mouth, choked on it, and in fact swallowed it and it came out a week later -Boys will take risks. Let them explore. It will build character, self confidence and self reliance. -Boys are action oriented. -Accidents will happen no matter how safe you try to be. -I have experienced accidents with my sons such as: falling off Razor scooter and knocking out tooth, jumping on pogo stick and biting tongue all the way through, sports injuries; Broken wrist, pulled ligaments, sprangs
SPORTS -Keep the boys active in sports. It puts their energy to good use. It builds character, leadership skills, team sport fun, and has great health benefits. -Make sure that they are participating in a sport that they like. If they do not like it, do not force them to continue. -Swimming is a skill that I made sure that all my boys would learn. They took lessons for about 3-4 years continuously for 3-4 years at an indoor pool.
HEALTH -Always have Motrin, Tylenol, Benadryl, Robitussen DM, and hydrocortizone cream on hand -When given a new prescription for your boys, always read up on the side effects and reactions with other medicines your child may take. I have a book that lists many medications and gives detailed descriptions. If your sons are diagnosed with a chronic health condition, become well informed about them -All my sons have varying degrees of asthma and I had to arm myself with lots of knowledge
ORGANIZATION -Boys are not usually that neat. They will have messy bedrooms -Set a good example for them -Make them clean up after themselves -They need to understand the importance of neatness at an early age
TIME AWAY FROM THE KIDS -As the mom and a teacher, you probably are the parent that spends most of the time with the kids -When your husband is home, get away from the kids when you need to...not all the time but you do need time to de-stress and have peace!!! -Have your husband take the boys places without you -Once a year, my husband and I took a weekend trip without the kids. I missed them but they stayed with grandparents and were fine. You and your husband deserve that quality time.
TOYS -Boys are more tactile -They like hands on toys -They enjoy building with legos, playing with action figures, musical instruments especially the drums which do get annoying -They also like all kinds of balls -I did let the boys have a kitchen set even though my husband did not really like it. The boys loved it. They also put on my high heels a few times and turned out fine.
THE PARK -If you have a park nearby, use it to your advantage -Boys love the park. There is so much to do but your youngest son will still need to be supervised. -It was always a release for me just to sit and watch them entertain themselves and interact with other children.
OUTDOOR PLAY -Boys love to play outdoors -They must be supervised until about 6-7 years of age. I would sit in a chair outside and read magazines or books while they played. Other times, I would play with them which they loved. They really enjoy when both parents play outside with them.
TRAVEL -My family loves to travel. We even took the boys to Hawaii when they were 3, 5, and 7. -The more you travel, the more the boys will learn how to behave correctly -When traveling, make sure that you always have snacks, water, and activities -When traveling by air or in the car for a long trip, I would always pack lunches like we were going on a field trip. I would also buy new books and cheap little toys. They loved the element of surprise of what did Mama get us this time. -Always have the baby wipes on hand. I still keep the travel pack of wipes in my purse. -If traveling by car for a long trip, stop every 1 1/2 to 2 hours. -I always picked first level floors when possible because my boys liked to run inside hotel rooms. No one would be below us. Rooms with balconies always made me very nervous so I tried to get the lowest level floor if the first floor was not available. If there is a night stand next to the bed, I still put a pillow between the night stand and the bed because I know of a child who fell out of the bed and hit the corner of her eye on the night stand -Check for dangerous situations in a hotel room. It must be child safe just like your home.
EATING HABITS -My sons were very picky eaters. -Keep offering your children a variety of foods. You just never know what they may eat.
SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS -Teach your boys to have compassion and empathy for each other -Foster positive relationships -They will get on each others nerves -The middle child syndrome will become evident when your 2 year old becomes older and sides with your older son and leaves the middle child out
REFERENCES -I often subscribed to parent magazines and read alot about parenting issues. Lots of things you will just have to find out as you travel the road of parenting. Boys are great though. I did want a daughter but now I am so accustomed to boys.
I hope that this was helpful. I tried to think of as many issues as I could. If you have specific questions, please feel free to ask for Erica.13 anytime. Thank you and have a great weekend. Hope your Thanksgiving was fun. Take care....