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proexpert37, Educator/Life Coach
Category: Parenting
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Experience:  Teacher 20+ years, Parent, Expert Mentor
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My husband is currently deployed to Afghanistan. My girls

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My husband is currently deployed to Afghanistan. My girls have been acting out a little since he has been gone. They are 6 and 4. People tell me to give them grace but how much is too much? I feel like if I give them an inch with their behavior then they will take a mile. I know a lot of it has to do with me being the only one here to discipline and talk to them. What can I do to get my 6 year old analyzer to stop arguing? How do I get my 4 year old to stop having outbursts of anger? I am currently do a reward system. They earn "stones" in their jars for good behavior. When the jar is filled we go somewhere fun. But I am taking away stones for bad behavior as well. It seems as though they will never fill those jars.
Hello and Thank You for consulting Just Answer. First of all, thank you for your husband's services. Do your children just act out with you? How do they behave at school? How do they behave when your husband is around? Has your husband ever been gone for a lengthy time before? Thanks!
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
They act out with family as well. Mainly just not listening, having to speak to them more than once. The last time he deployed my oldest was a baby. The last duty station we were at he was home a few weeks then gone a few weeks for three years straight. I have always stayed home with them and never lived around family till now. I moved home for this deployment. I use to do a schedule with them. We do this at this time and this at this time, type of schedule. But we decided a couple of years ago to let them be kids and not have a set schedule everyday except for meals and sleep.
I will give this detailed thought and reply with a thorough answer.
Hello and my apologies for being offline for a bit. I am back online now.
Hello again . The feelings and actions of your daughters are completely normal. They are having a difficult time coping with the absence of their daddy who they dearly miss. They cannot appropriately verbally explain their sadness and frustration, so they resort to outbursts of anger and arguing. As adults, the situation of deployment is easier for us to understand but your daughters have no idea what to do. Therefore, it is your sole responsibility to assist them in learning how to manage their feelings.

When they are misbehaving either by throwing a tantrum or arguing, squat down to their level and look them straight in their eyes and tell them that you understand that they miss daddy. However, their behavior is unacceptable. Tell them that you will gladly help them with whatever they need once they have settled down and can talk in a calmer manner. Then walk away. Your daughters are craving attention but must learn that you will not continue to give them attention for negative behavior. They will soon discover that they will not get anything by being disrespectful and argumentative.

Therefore, you must REALLY praise your daughter when they are acting the right way. Keep giving the stones in a jar but never remove them. Maybe you can say that after 10 stones, a reward or special treat will be given. Your daughters need to see more immediate results for good behavior. Filling up a jar would take a long time. When they misbehave, give them timeouts away from toys and all other activities. Send them to their room to sit on the bed or in a chair to think about behaving. They must apologize to you as well.

Nonetheless, make sure that you keep daddy in their lives as often as you see fit to do without stressing them out or making them feel sad.

I hope that this has helped you. If not, please ask for further assistance.
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