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earthsister
earthsister, Parent
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 141
Experience:  Home Child Care Provider, and mother of 4; two pre-teen boys and twin baby girls.
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Sorry if this question is too long and drug out for you but

Resolved Question:

Sorry if this question is too long and drug out for you but my boyfriend and I need lots of advice. I help him take care of his two children, 2 and 4 year old girls, the 4 year old is not biological. We have tons of issues that we need help with coming from both children. We have tried absolutely everything in resolving their issues, to the point that we are not sure what else to do. Both children have been in stressful situations before they were placed into his custody. Their mother was the type of mother that listened to nothing they had to say, left them in bed all day as she slept. They were completely attention deprived. Once taken from their mothers custody, they were with their grandparents due to their father not being able to be there because of his line of work. There they were spoiled and babied, given everything they wanted, picked out of bed and babied if they had a fit in the middle of the night. Now they are in their fathers custody living under a strict household and have severe power issues. I know the reoccuring changes in their living situations have a lot to do with their problems. We personally don't want the girls growing up to be like the children and adults of the past couple of generations. They need to know that everything is not handed to them and not everything goes their way. Both of the girls do things just to make us mad. They are very defiant and like to test us. Neither have temper tantrums, but they refuse to do what they are SUPPOSED to do. It seems that they take turns being good and bad. We've started them both on a sticker chart which is not working at all. They will work for their reward, but then when they have realized that they messed up, they wont try to fix it, they give up and only get worse. Now for more details on each child.
The youngest, 2, is a wonderful child, never has a fit in a store, is always happy. Our problem with her is she is VERY defiant. She seems to do things on purpose just to push buttons and test us. We have trouble getting her to eat and go to the potty by herself. She has showed us several times that she can do it by herself, but she will get too busy playing and go in her pull up just because she does not feel like walking to the potty. About two weeks ago she did great not going in her pull up so we tried to give her "big girl panties" like her sister has. The DAY she got in her big girl panties, 30 minutes after she went to the potty (daddy telling her to go) she squatted in her sisters room and peed all over her toys. Its like she got what she wanted and then decided to see if we would take it away. Seems like she'll do it just to make us mad. Another problem we have with the 2 year old is talking right. We work with it every day, but randomly she'll show us that she can say a complete sentence. Yesterday at dinner she turned around to daddy and said, "There is only crackers left!" without any problem. But when she is in trouble, or wanting attention all you hear is baby talk. She refuses to say certain words correctly. I believe its because she has been taught to say them the way she says them. "Stop" is "top". She refuses to say her sisters name correctly even though she has told us that she can. Her worst one is "drink." Two months ago it was "dink" and "nink" especially in the middle of the night when she was thirst. Lately, out of no where she started saying "sink" Then we started trying to sound it out to her " Du Rink" and now she says "Du sink." Our usual reaction is to take her to the sink and ask if thats what she wants. She says no and eventually she will say it right. Then the next time around she will be saying "Du Sink" again. She shows us she can do something and then refuses to do something. Also she will stop talking loudly, and just mumble it under her breath, sometimes she will refuse to talk at all. Something else with her is the yes sir and yes ma'am. She referred to people using those terms for about 6 months now and has showed us that she knows which is which, but then, just to make us mad it seems, she switches it up and acts like she does not know the difference. After typing all of this out its insane to me how me problems we have.
Now, with the 4 year old, it gets even worse. We usually don't have problems with her eating, but like I said they just stated earlier, they just like to switch places. Her main problem is she can not sleep. She doesn't ever cry, or have fits, or act scared, or want attention. She just WILL NOT sleep. On a GOOD night she gets maybe 6 or 7 hours of sleep. Her nap time is 1 to 4 and her bed time is 9 to 9. Apparently she has always been a bad sleeper. Everytime we put her down for sleep she will lay there and whisper and play with toys, we take her toys away and she plays with her hands and feet. She probably has a lot on her mind due to her situation, but her lack of sleep effects her health and behavior. She has rings under her eyes, runs into walls, and trips under her own feet.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  earthsister replied 2 years ago.

earthsister :

Hello, I would like to assist you today.

earthsister :

It does appear that you have a lot of concerns for the girls. Please bare with me as I am trying to be sure to read all that you wrote.

Customer:

Thank you. There's a lot more with the 4 year old that was not stated because I didn't have the room to type it.

earthsister :

I certainly can understand your frustration, and I will do all that I can to provide some insight that will be of use to you.

Customer:

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX time.

earthsister :

It sounds as though these young ladies have been from two extremes, 1) Not being given any attention to 2) Being given almost too much attention. It seems that they need a stability and some form of middle-ground to help keep them level.

earthsister :

pardon, I meant a stable environment.

Customer:

Yes. And thats where we are now. We realized the situation of living with 9 people was not helping their problem. we moved into our own home. Now it is just me, daddy, and the girls. Its been about a month and they seem to be getting worse.

earthsister :

You and your boyfriend are doing well to look toward rewarding the girls for their good behavior, this is much more important in teaching discipline to children than are punishments. The key is to reward consistently, and in accordance with what the children enjoy; stickers may not be reward enough for them. Maybe there is something else that they would look forward to, that they would look forward to. And sometimes it really isn't about an actual reward, but simply the positive attention, hugs and kisses, that comes with praise and encouragement.

Customer:

Some days they will improve and some days they will get worse.

Customer:

The sticker chart is weekly, at the end of the week we have a picture of something they would enjoy, they just blow it off, like they think we will give in and give them the reward whether they are good or bad, we usually reward them with positive attention the moment they do something good, like angelica peeing in the potty or jeanette doing something by herself.

earthsister :

I know it may be difficult, and as the mother of a 12 and 11 year old boy, and twin girls, trust me, I know it's not easy; but you definitely want to refrain from yelling at the girls. While it may be difficult to get there attention any other way, way you are doing is teaching them that in order to get attention, be heard, or get your way, they have to yell; this is the exact behavior that they will continue to carry on now and into the future.

earthsister :

and pardon the typo, I meant what you are doing.

Customer:

i completely agree with you, the father just knows that there is no other way to get their attention, at least nothing we have found. i get tired of yelling at them too.

earthsister :

Try approaching them in the completely opposite way, talking doesn't work, so when you need to get there attention, go close to the girls, and somewhat whisper to them what you want to communicate. Put your arm around or give a gentle hand on the shoulder as you talk to them softly. As you do so, explain to them that this is the kind of voice that we need to use.

earthsister :

Whenever one of them successfully using the appropriate tone, commend them in saying "Good girl, that is the right voice to use, I'm so proud of you."; (then would be a good time for a reward)

earthsister :

As hard as this may be, sometimes it is not necessary to give any attention to negative behavior; as long as no one or nothing is being harmed, if one of the girls raises their voice or begins yelling, ignore them. Do not return attention their way until they speak in the appropriate voice that you have taught them. Explain again to them that this is the appropriate voice to use when they want attention.

Customer:

i will definitely try, i have stated to the father that i think we should find a different way of approaching things, but that takes time. it will be days, if not weeks until we know if that works. thats something we are deffinitely going to work on, its just that its been tried before, but probably not at a time where the girls were in a stable environment. ill be sure to talk to him about that more. and that will hopefully work for a better way to communicate with them and keep them from turning around and yelling at us when they're not getting what they want. but there are so many more issues. i also like that idea. even negative attention is attention.

earthsister :

And also, I just want to assure you that the problems that you are encountering with the girls are not that extreme, these are all solvable issues. And you are right, it will take much patience and consistence.

Customer:

thats a main problem we are trying to stay consistent with the girls but its hard to stay consistent when you cant find a way to solve the problem. haha. but yes, im trying to convince him that their behaviors can be changed. he's just scared that its too late.

earthsister :

For your 2 year old with the potty, again here is another scenario where not making a big deal out of things may work best. When she doesn't go to the potty, don't make a big deal about it, or yell. Just talk calmly to her, letting her know that you want her to use the potty next time. When she does use the potty, make a big deal about it, throw a party, reward her! Children respond much better to praise and reward than they do to punishment.

Customer:

yes definitely, she's good with using the potty, she just wont do it by herself. he thinks that making it unpleasant for her when she goes in her pull up will make her not do it again. i believe there is other ways to handle it. yesterday, she went by herself and got a popsicle. but im not too sure if she understood why she got a popsicle because her grandparents were around and they give her popsicles for no reason.

Customer:

his problem with rewards though is he doesnt believe they should be rewarded for everything because he does not want them growing up thinking they will be rewarded for everything they do.

earthsister :

She needs rewards and encouragement, not punishment. Punishment for not using the potty may work in reverse and give her insecurity issues with the bathroom for the rest of her life. Make sure when she does it by herself, that you praise and reward her, and tell her why she is getting praised and rewarded. "Good girl! You used the potty all by yourself! I am so proud! Let's get you a treat for going to the potty! Good girl!"

earthsister :

Make it a big deal, this will encourage her to use it consistently and on her own

Customer:

Thats how we usually do, we just cant seem to get her to go on her own when she needs to go, and she has showed has that she can do it. She just gets too busy playing and doesn't care too.

Customer:

that may have something to do for being diciplined for going in her pull up.

earthsister :

Continue to talk to her about being a big girl, and going to the potty when she has to go; explain to her that her toys will still be there when she returns, but big girls go to the potty when it's time all by themselves. Keep accompanying her to the bathroom, if the problem is that she doesn't want to be left alone. She is still young, and it is not uncommon for children to still need and want assistance at her age. Just continue to encourage her while you are with her to be able to do so on her own. Even when you are with her, praise her for using the potty. Just let her know that now she has to do it on her own.

Customer:

yeah thats pretty much what we have been doing for the past month or two.

earthsister :

My twins aren't quite yet on the potty, but two of their favorite books are "Potty Time With Abby":http://www.amazon.com/Potty-Cadabby-Editors-Publications-International/dp/141277781X

earthsister :

and "Potty Time With Elmo": http://www.amazon.com/Potty-Time-Elmo-Liittle-Sound/dp/141273486X

earthsister :

Try incorporating some fun and education into your 2 year old's potty experience. This may help encourage her as well.

Customer:

thank you! those might come of use.

Customer:

one of our worst problems is the defiance and pushing buttons, testing us.

earthsister :

I also encourage you to bring up any issues that you feel are out of your control with the children's pediatrician. While much of what you are seeking to solve seems normal, and as though there are simple solutions, you do want to be sure that there are no developmental delays or health issues that may be causing some of the issues that the girls are having. Their pediatrician will be able to help you there, and recommend any necessary counseling if needed.

Customer:

yes we're planning on that with jeanettalynns sleeping.

Customer:

we've just been trying to find ways to deal with it before we take it to a doctor because her being on any prescriptions is the last thing we want.

Customer:

by the way i just tried the attention when she jeanetta asked her sissy nicely to do something, praised her and said good jobs thats how we should talk to sissy and i received a big smile.

earthsister :

And I can definitely respect that, I am the same way. However, you also don't want to let something possibly serious go undiagnosed. And remember, as the parent/guardian, you have the right not to put your child on any medication if the doctor recommends it. You can always get a second opinion, or seek out the help of a holistic pediatrician who prefers the use of natural foods and herbs as remedies.

earthsister :

You may be able to find a pediatrician or counselor of your needs through the Holistic Pediatrician Alliance. You can do a search by zip code: http://hpadirectory.org/

Customer:

yes definitely. i believe that her sleep issues stem from seperation anxiety because around the time she stops sleeping she is asking for her mom and saying she wants to go to her moms. but her mom has nothing to do with either of them. jeanettalynn is not even biological, my boyfriend was just granted custody. she has a lot going through her mind for her age and we're not sure what to do about it. i've thought about starting some relaxation techniques and breathing techniques with her. thank you for the links.

earthsister :

No problem. I definitely recommend that you seek help from a pediatrician or counselor on the sleep issues. Again, you do not have to put your child on medication, that is your discretion. You definitely do want to catch any potential serious problem before it gets worse.

Customer:

thank you. any tips for the defiance and button pushing? it causes a lot of stress.

earthsister :

Defiance and button pushing is not just for 2 and 4 year olds, as a parent you will experience this for years to come. The real key in this situation is you and your boyfriend remaining calm. Don't let the girls see you get frustrated when they do try button pushing, this just shows them that their attempts are successful.

Customer:

very true. i should have known.

earthsister :

If you feel that you yourself cannot remain calm without yelling or responding in an angry way, seek out counseling for yourself. I definitely am not saying that to be funny, it is very true and serious. I know its not easy, and that is why I say seek out counseling for yourself if needed. Sometimes we as parents need a little extra help and guidance as well.

Customer:

well your advice was definitely helpful, been thinking pretty much the same just needed to hear from someone else. i have to get lunch ready for the girls, i appreciate the help!

Customer:

i definitely agree. and im sure i can handle it calmly. we're just so used to carrying it out in different ways i assure you we will put your advice to use.

earthsister :

Not a problem at all. I certainly want to provide insight to the other issues that you have mentioned as well. If you do feel that I have been of some help thus far, I would greatly appreciate a positive rating. I will certainly not allow my input to stop there however. If you do have any other questions or concerns on this issue, please let me know, and I will try to tackle each one. Hang in there, you all are on the right track.

Customer:

definitely. am i able to reach you at a later time or is now the only time? im getting lunch ready for the girls. there are other issues, but nothing that occurs too often.

Customer:

any insight you can give will be appreciated.

earthsister :

I will be in most of the day. I'll be stepping out only briefly. I will continue to address the other issues that you have already mentioned in this post while you are away. Whenever you have any other questions or comments, just respond on this post for "earthsister," and I will be sure to respond as soon as I am available.

Customer:

okay i'll just keep this tab open. so its not a one time thing? i can reach you whenever needed once paid for?

earthsister :

Keep being patient and working with your 2 year old's language. This can be a frustrating time for both you and her, as she is learning the appropriate uses of words and trying to remember them all. It is not uncommon for a child her age to appear to have grasped a language concept, and then all of a sudden seem to have lost it. She is learning a lot rapidly, and her brain has to work to process all of this information. Continue to reinforce the correct ways to use and pronounce words and phrases. Read to her, keep talking to her with slow and clear language, and watch educational programming that encourages learning language with her; Two of my favorites are Sesame Street and World World.

earthsister :

I'm sorry, that is Word World

earthsister :

As for your 4 year old, it may be about time to cut naps out of her daily schedule. If she automatically naps on her own, work on shortening the time that she sleeps to one or two hours during the day

Customer:

we definitely wanted to because of her age but she does not even sleep during her nap. when she doessnt take her nap she is running into walls and trips over her own feet, even without taking her nap, she wont go to sleep when its bed time. i thought without her nap she'd go to sleep at night time, but i was wrong.

earthsister :

Also make sure that she is getting plenty of fruits, vegetables, exercise and mental stimulation during the day. With her tripping and running into walls, yes, maybe it's because she is tired, but again this could be more serious. I definitely recommend that this is brought up and looked into by her pediatrician.

Customer:

we have also cut her sugar, its been making her a lot more tired. sugar free drinks and water.

earthsister :

That is an excellent idea. Yes, sugar causes many sleep problems for both children and adults. The more sugar you can eliminate from her diet, the better.

Customer:

im actually going to start shortening her naps today and record the results. you can look at her and tell how tired she is though.

earthsister :

Try as well to find other ways to wind her down for bedtime. A soothing bubble bath, soft music, dim lights, quiet in the background with no distractions, bed time story, or maybe possibly a back rub. Some of things worked consistently may be of help.

earthsister :

and pardon the typo again, that's some of these things

Customer:

we usually let them settle down by quietly watching a cartoon of some sort with low volume and the lights off.

earthsister :

You may want to try slowly eliminating the television for bedtime. While the volume may be low,m the images are bright and stimulating, and may not encourage your 4 year old to fall asleep. Try a story or music instead.

Customer:

okay. definitely. i've been told the same before. we've tried a lot of things and everything seems to get them excited. especially story books.

earthsister :

Another good option may be stories that are on tape or DVD, that way there is nothing stimulating to their eyes, the lights can be kept low, but they can still be engaged in the low volume sound of the story.

earthsister :

and I didn't mean DVD, I meant CD

Customer:

that sounds like an awesome idea! thank you very much.

earthsister :

You are most certainly welcome.

earthsister :

I do have to step away for a moment, but I will return in not too long. If you have any other concerns while I am away, please do not hesitate to mention them. I still have to address the bossiness of your 4 year old once I return. Another professional may feel inclined to address your question while I am away, I do ask that you are patient for my return, as I would like to see that I do provide you with excellent service. Just address any questions or comments to "earthsister," and I will be sure to reply. Thank you.

Customer:

thank you!

Customer:

something else. they will both procrastinate to get out of thing. like right now the 2 year old is setting on the potty and keeps saying shes not done when she is clearly done, more than likely because its nap time.

Customer:

to "earthsister"

earthsister :

Hi, I am back. Let your 2 year old know that the sooner she finishes on the potty, the sooner she can get her nap over with, and be back awake again. Continue praising and rewarding her for using the potty, and then praise her for being a big girl and getting off of the potty.

earthsister :

With all my talk of praise I do not want you to think that I deny the need to punish sometimes. Punishments must fit the "crime" and I do not agree that they should be particularly unpleasant or physically involved, such as hands on the head. The goal with providing punishment is to eliminate negative behavior, with the goal of positive behavior resulting. With this being said, punishment should be used as sparsely as possible.

earthsister :

It is important that a child is explained in a language that she can understand, what the rules are. Don't simply expect that they should know better, explain the rules to them, and ask them to repeat the rules back to you in their own words, to assure that they do understand.

earthsister :

I think that if done correctly for a child's age, time-outs can often be effective. With my own children and in my day care, I like to give time-outs in where the child is still engaged in some activity. An example is, if one of the children hits another, he or she first has to apologize, and then after a short time out, depending on age, the child would be instructed to write a story, draw a picture, or read a book and answer questions in relation to why it is wrong to hit others. Another example is if a child colors on the walls; he or she must first help me clean the walls, then after a brief time-out, I set the child up an area where he or she is instructed to draw a picture or color a sheet. This helps to address the behavior that you want to correct, and makes it a learning experience at the same time. Here is a nice link to get some more ideas of appropriate punishments for children by age: http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/talk/discipline.html#

earthsister :

With your 4 year old bossing her sister around, explain to her that you and Daddy are the ones who make the rules, and that her job to her sister is to help her learn and follow the rules, by following them herself, and by setting a good example. You can also work to teach her this through your own actions. This is where being able to be calm is important, because through how we as parents talk to our children, this is the way they learn to talk to others. If we come off as bossing our children as opposed to guiding them, this is how they learn to interact with others (especially their own siblings.)

earthsister :

One more point about the bossy, and other unwanted behavior. Be aware of what kinds of television shows the girls are watching. A lot of the behavior that children learn comes not only from their environments, but the things that they see on tv.

earthsister, Parent
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 141
Experience: Home Child Care Provider, and mother of 4; two pre-teen boys and twin baby girls.
earthsister and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  earthsister replied 2 years ago.
Our chat has ended, but you can still continue to ask me questions here until you are satisfied with your answer. Come back to this page to view our conversation and any other new information.

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If you haven’t already done so, please rate your answer above. Or, you can reply to me using the box below.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
"earthsister" thank you for all the help. sorry it took me a while to get a rating in, just been a busy couple of days. you were great help!
Expert:  earthsister replied 2 years ago.
Not a problem. You have been a pleasure to work with, and I am very glad that I have been able to help. Thank you greatly for the high rating, I do appreciate it. If there is anyway that I can help you further on this, or any other parenting issue, please do not hesitate to message for me. I wish you and your family the best. Thanks again! "earthsister."

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